As early as the prologue, Fate is established as the motivating force of the play. " A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;" (Prologue line 9) first introduces Fate to the audience. The chorus in the same go on to describe the love that Romeo and Juliet share as " death-marked" (Prologue line 9) thus by the end of the prologue the audience is aware of the outcome of the play, which reflects that the events within the play, are by and large, pre-ordained. People as influential as Franklin M. Dickey and W.H. Auden have embraced the view that Romeo and Juliet, having recklessly and irresponsibly pursued their love, are responsible for their own fate, but this view simply disregards the prologue (G Blakemore Evans 1984).
For the purpose of this essay, Fate is defined as a force beyond human control, thus removing personal choice as a motivating force in the play. The concept of Fate as the driving force of the play takes away from Romeo and Juliet their responsibility for their actions, as their deaths are pre-destined and beyond their control. This concept would have been widely accepted and even taken for granted by the kind of audience Shakespeare was writing for (Brains, P 2000).
When Romeo first enters the play (Act 1 scene 1) he is completely besotted with Rosaline, his love, however, is unreturned ("Out of favour where I am in love." (Act 1 scene1 line 159)). The audience learns later in the scene that Rosaline has taken a vow of chastity- if this were not the case, it is possible to imagine that Romeo may never have met or fallen in love with Juliet.
In Act 1 scene 2 the Capulets" servant, apparently illiterate, happens upon Romeo and Benvolio, and not knowing who they are, asks them to assist him in reading the names of the guest-list for Capulet's party- where fate would have Romeo meet Juliet. It is ironic that Romeo's initial intention is to see Rosaline at the party, and by the party's end Romeo has all but forgotten her.