Essay on Impulsiveness in Romeo & Juliet
"Wisely and slow: they stumble that run fast"(Pg 91, Line 97) those words spoken by Friar Laurence. Words we must listen too. Impulsiveness leads to downfall, and therefore people must strike a balance between being impulsive, and being pragmatic. Time and time again Shakespeare showed us how impulsiveness leads to tragedy.
First off, Capulet was a prudent, well-balanced person most of the time. When Paris told Capulet that he wanted to marry Juliet, Capulet said "Let two more summers wither in their pride/Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride"(Pg 27, Lines 10-11) because he wanted to look out for Juliet and wanted to make sure she was ready. Though he did tell him to "woo her, gentle Paris, get her heart;/My will to her consent is but a part" because he was still not passing up this opportunity for his daughter. Capulet was also practical when Tybalt spotted Romeo during the Capulet feast, Tybalt wanted to do the impulsive thing and kill Romeo, but Capulet thought for a second about the consequences. Tybalt said "I'll not endure him" and Capulet told him emphatically "he shall be endur'd"(pg. 57, Lines 77 & 78). In this scene Capulet prevented a huge Montegue and Capulet confrontation by thinking first and not doing the impulsive suggested by Tybalt. Through thinking these actions through, problems were prevented.
However, Capulet was at times, a very rash person, and that lead to much of the misfortune in this play. Hours after Romeo killed Tybalt, Capulet acted on haste in Act III, Scene 4 and told Paris "I will make a desperate tender/Of my child's love: I think she will be rul'd/In all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not....And bid her, mark you on me, on Wednesday next-" and then continued to sound delirious saying "Wednesday is too soon;/ O' Thursday let it be:...She shall be married to this noble earl" and at this point Capulet has become selfish and impulsive. His daughter does not love Paris, but Capulet is not thinking because Tybalt had just died. When Juliet refused to marry Paris, Capulet exploded, and didn't think at all by telling Juliet, "get thee to church' Thursday/ Or never after look me in the face:/Speak not, reply not, do not answer me;"(Pg 173, Lines 66 -68). He than went on to insult Juliet by saying "God had lent us but this only child;/ But now I see this one is one too much,"(Pg 175, Lines 170-71) and what was this over? It was because Tybalt died, and Capulet acted hastily. Unfortunately it eventually lead to the death of Juliet. And, only when Juliet died did Capulet finally do the reasonable thing when he apologized to Montegue and insisted that the feud end. Capulet's acts of impulsiveness, though rare, can easily be destructive.
Another character who seemed to have balance in his life, was Friar Laurence. He preached to Romeo when Romeo wanted Friar to marry him and Juliet as soon as possible. He preached of warning to Romeo telling him that "Women may fall when there's no strength in men" and suggested that Romeo was just in a vulnerable spot and Juliet fell for him solely on that. He also asked Romeo "Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,/So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes." Again showing Romeo that this impulsiveness is wrong and he points it out well. Later inthe play, after Juliet is being forced to marry Paris, Juliet came to Paris and threatened suicide, Friar acted partly on impulse and partly on reasoning. He said "A thing like death to chide away this shame,/ That cop'st with death himself to 'scape from it;/ And, if thou dar'st, I'll give thee remedy."(Pg. 187, Lines 75-77). By striking this balance he prevented Juliet's immediate death. When Friar preached reasoning he gained the respect of the town, and when acted on wisdom he helped and aided others.
Although Friar preached prudence, he rarely acted on it in this play. Though he told Romeo that rushing a marriage leads to problems, he decided to go along with the hasty marriage because on an impulse he felt that "this alliance may so happy prove,/ To turn your households' rancor to pure love". (Pg. 91. Lines 94-95) He never thought of the probable consequences and the secretive aspect of this marriage. He often contradicts his words and speaks of prudence. When Paris told him their marriage would be on Thursday, Friar said "On Thursday sir? The time is very short"(Pg. 181, Line 1) and this is after he married Romeo and Juliet on less than a day's notice. Furthermore, Friar made one tragic act of impulsiveness that lead to even more disastrous results. After Juliet awoke he told her"Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead;/ And Paris too" explaining that Romeo and Paris had just died. And than tells this young girl, who is completley vulnerable, :Come, go, good Juliet; I dare no longer stay" and leaves without her. And now Juliet has no crutch to lean on so she kills herself. Now Paris, Romeo, and Juliet have died and Friar has to explain to everyone what happened. It is quite sad that these results occur from impulsiveness, even if it is meant with the best of intentions.
Although impulsiveness can be meant with the best, or the worst ones, its results are usually severe and often tragic. Throughout the play of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare showed us how impulsiveness can lead to tragic results and even death and sometimes it is only when it comes to this point do people learn.