Act V – Scene.ii
Friar John returns to Friar Laurence saying he has been unable to deliver
the letter to Romeo due to an outbreak of plague, he being confined in a quarantine house. Friar Laurence realizes that Romeo will not know about Juliet’s false death, and there will be no one there to
retrieve her from the tomb. He does not realize that Romeo has learnt of Juliet’s death from another source.
Friar Laurence obtains a crowbar so that he can release Juliet from the
tomb. He sends another letter to Romeo warning him about what has happened and how he plans to keep Juliet in his cell.
The Friar’s plan starts to unravel due to a sequence of near misses.
The outbreak of plague forces the messenger into quarantine, thus the letter
to Romeo is not delivered; whilst Balthasar just misses the quarantine, he is able to deliver the bad news to Romeo concerning Juliet’s death.
Romeo knowing nothing of this believes it is fate that stands between him
and his love Juliet. He is not willing to put up with this any longer and intends to defy the stars by taking his own life.
The message here is that Romeo and Juliet cannot be together and live in
this world. Fate has decreed that they will be kept apart. The only way they can be together is through death.
In a way, Romeo is a victim of his own fate. If his character was different, less headstrong and emotional, i.e. more mature, the double suicide would not occur. Had Juliet explained the truth to her parents that she was already married, then again the double suicide might not occur. The type of love they have, intense, passionate and transcendental, exists solely because of the kind of people they are.