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Romeo and Juiet - Theme of Death

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During the course of this story death was a recurring theme. In all, six peoples' lives were lost and many were hurt but the deaths of Mercutio, Juliet, and Romeo were the most important. Their deaths were key to events that happened in the story, but they could have been avoided.

In Act 3 we see the death of Mercutio. In this scene Benvolio and Mercutio encounter Tybalt on the streets. When Romeo arrives, Tybalt tries to provoke Romeo into fighting him. Romeo refuses and Mercutio stands up for his good friend and cousin and accepts the duel. Mercutio gets killed in the fight, but his last words, "... A plague o' both your houses!" (3.1.110) foreshadow the ending of the book. Out of rage for Mercutio's death Romeo kills Tybalt in a duel. The death of Mercutio starts a chain reaction.

After Tybalt's death, Romeo is banished. Juliet is so upset she says she cannot live without him so she and Friar Lawrence come up with a plot to stage her death so she does not have to marry Paris. The letter with the plan never reaches Romeo, so he had no idea about the herbal mixture given to her to induce a death-like coma. When he hears of Juliet's 'death' he is so heartbroken that he goes to the Apothecary to buy a poison that could kill twenty men. Romeo sets out to Juliet's grave with his servant and as he enters and sees Juliet lying there dead (supposedly) and says his last words, "Here's to my love! [Drinks.] O true apothecary! 
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die. [Falls.]" (5.3.119-120).

Juliet awakens and sees Romeo lying dead beside her and realizes that he never got the Friar's letter. Then she sees the poison and says, "O churl! 

Drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I will kiss his lips. 

Haply some poison yet doth hang on them. To make me die with a restorative." (5.3.68-71). Juliet kisses Romeo's still warm lips but the little poison has no effect on Juliet. She picks up his dagger and thrusts it into her chest. This just shows how they cared so much for each other that they would end their lives on earth to live together where their names wouldn't matter.

These deaths could have been avoided if Mercutio would not have fought Tybalt. If they did not fight, Mercutio would have been alive and Romeo would not have been banished for killing Tybalt. But since Romeo was banished Juliet was deeply saddened and cried hysterically. Her father only agreed to let her marry Paris because he thought it would help her sadness for the loss of Tybalt so Juliet had to stage her death so the marriage wouldn't happen. Romeo killed himself at the sight of Juliet being 'dead' and she then killed herself when she awoke from the death-like coma because she saw Romeo dead. If Mercutio's death never happened, the chain reaction would not have started and the six lives would not have



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