Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare
Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. . . .
 
O, I am fortune’s fool! . . .
 
Then I defy you, stars.

This trio of quotes advances the theme of fate as it plays out through the story: the first is spoken by the Chorus (Prologue.5–8), the second by Romeo after he kills Tybalt (3.1.131), and the third by Romeo upon learning of Juliet’s death (5.1.24). The Chorus’s remark that Romeo and Juliet are “star-crossed” and fated to “take their li[ves]” informs the audience that the lovers are destined to die tragically. Romeo’s remark “O, I am fortune’s fool!” illustrates the fact that Romeo sees himself as subject to the whims of fate. When he cries out “Then I defy you, stars,” after learning of Juliet’s death, he declares himself openly opposed to the destiny that so grieves him. Sadly, in “defying” fate he actually brings it about. Romeo’s suicide prompts Juliet to kill herself, thereby ironically fulfilling the lovers’ tragic destiny.