"Romeo + Juliet" (1996): Romeo and Juliet Were Sacrificed by God

Updated on April 20, 2019
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Ash has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves analyzing fiction and obsessing over books, film, and television.


Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 romantic crime film directed by Baz Luhrmann. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the titular characters Romeo and Juliet, and it's probably my favorite film version of the classic play.

One thing people don't seem to understand about Romeo and Juliet is that they weren't two stupid teenagers who killed themselves because they couldn't be together. No. They were actually sacrificed by God in order to bring an end to the fighting of their families and to stop the bloodshed in Verona's streets.

In other words, the love of Romeo and Juliet was divinely orchestrated in order to bring peace.

This is heavily, heavily implied throughout both the play and the film adaptations. I'm having a hard time understanding how people are missing this.

Understanding Unconditional Love

"Why then, oh brawling love? Oh, loving hate?"
"Why then, oh brawling love? Oh, loving hate?" | Source

First of all, people are way too hung up on the fact that Romeo was in love with Rosaline first. They believe that he is a "player" for jumping to one woman from the other, which is how the name "Romeo" became synonymous with someone who plays the field. In reality, Romeo's love for Juliet was pure and true and he was not a liar or someone fickle. It's not like Rosaline was in love with Romeo and he coldly dumped her for Juliet.

As the film tells us, Rosaline wasn't remotely interested in Romeo and also swore to stay chaste -- meaning she wasn't interested in anyone else either. This is unrequited love, which is pretty damn painful. Why the hell shouldn't Romeo move on to someone who can love him in return? Doesn't he deserve that?

What's more, it's possible Romeo made a mistake. Sometimes we aren't in love with people but the idea of people. Sometimes we project onto others, and instead of seeing them, we see what we want.

Romeo believes himself to be in love with Rosaline and is depressed that she doesn't feel the same. There is nothing malicious in his behavior. He simply believes himself to be in love and perhaps he's made a mistake. That doesn't make his love for Juliet suddenly less authentic.

"Watching stars without you, my souls cries . . . "
"Watching stars without you, my souls cries . . . " | Source

Know first and foremost that unconditional love does not need a reason. It just is. Mothers love their children because. Dogs love their owners because. This can and does extend to lovers with the phenomenon of love at first sight.

To fully comprehend the pure, unconditional love between Romeo and Juliet, one must also understand how love at first sight works. First off, love at first sight is very real. It happens because when you meet a stranger and immediately fall in love with them, you fall in love with them because they are not a stranger. You've known them in a past life -- perhaps you even loved them before -- and because of this, your soul will recognize their soul instantly. You will love this person for seemingly no discernible reason.

That is how and why love at first sight happens.

People who fall in love immediately or very quickly always say they feel like they "know" the other person. It's because they do. Romeo and Juliet have likely lived many lifetimes together, and before they were born into their current lives, they likely made the decision to come to Earth and sacrifice themselves in order to bring peace to Verona's streets.

This would mean that they were not helpless victims. Their souls chose their circumstances.They chose to be sacrificed in order to bring peace. They just can't remember having made the decision.

"Come now, gentle night. Bring me my Romeo."
"Come now, gentle night. Bring me my Romeo." | Source

Of the two of them, Juliet -- the feminine energy -- appears to be more spiritual and at peace with the situation. She prays and speaks to angels, she speaks to God, she trusts and has faith that Romeo will return to her.

Like Romeo, Juliet is very emotionally strong. She cries and shows emotion but she is not controlled by her emotions. Juliet is often calm and in control, serenely aware that "What will be will be" and accepting of her fate.

"Be not so long to speak, I long to die!"
"Be not so long to speak, I long to die!" | Source

But (again) much like Romeo, Juliet has her breaking point. They are teenagers, after all. And they had to be in order for the sacrifice to have the proper effect.

The fact that they are so young makes them 1) more sympathetic and 2) emotionally unstable and irrational, which in turn makes them more likely to break under pressure and commit suicide -- which is the entire purpose of their incarnation.


Though Romeo kills Juliet's cousin in a moment of weakness, there is no anger on Juliet's part. There is no grudge. No resentment. Romeo comes to her and receives her complete forgiveness. It is the embodiment of pure, unconditional love.

Now, to be clear, I am not saying that people should just lie down and allow their partner to do horrible things. If your partner is abusing you or others in any way, then you will remove them from your life. You will forgive them and go on loving them, but you will not continue in a relationship with them -- that is self-love and it is an important part of unconditional love.

What Romeo did, however, happened because his hand was forced by God. He did not go out with the intention of killing Tybalt. Romeo killed Tybalt in a moment of blind rage, after his best friend was murdered in front of him.

In other words, unconditional love means that Juliet would have gone on loving and forgiving Romeo regardless, with or without him in her life.

That is the purity of their love, and teaching the world -- or at least Verona, Italy -- about pure love was the entire reason they incarnated as Romeo and Juliet.

Signs and Dreams

"Under love's heavy burden do I sink."
"Under love's heavy burden do I sink."

There are multiple signs throughout the film showing Romeo his fate and that he must die. Right before attending the party where he meets Juliet, Romeo has a dream that deeply disturbs him. It disturbs him to the point that he doesn't want to attend the party. He is afraid.

Mercutio (Harold Perrineau), who is tired of Romeo being a stick in the mud, convinces him to get loaded and come to the party anyway. Romeo is still afraid but agrees to come to the party because Rosaline might be there. He tells the gods to "direct his sail."

Throughout the play, Romeo frequently refers to himself as a sailor. This is deeply symbolic. Water is wisdom, intuition, and mystery. It is controlled by the pull of the moon -- also a symbol of mystery -- and thus by the pull of the gods. Humans can not control the sea, only a higher power.

Romeo is a sailor on the sea of the gods, a pawn on a chessboard. He is afraid, knowing he is off to his doom. Sometimes -- like in the picture above -- he surrenders and serenely accepts his fate. Other times, he lashes out at the gods in anger for manipulating him.

"I defy you, stars!"
"I defy you, stars!" | Source

Alas, Romeo is the only person who seems remotely aware that he is being controlled by the gods aka Fate aka Christ (as depicted in this film). This is a tremendous burden to bear, knowing you can not escape your fate and unable to tell others of your prison. Instead, you are held accountable for your own actions, even though the hand of God moves your hand.

Romeo was banished for things out of his control. He tried to avoid the fight with Tybalt (John Leguizamo), even allowing the other to beat him down to the ground.

People misinterpret Romeo as weak because he allows Tybalt to beat him, he cries, he thrashes out and shows emotion, but Romeo is actually one of the strongest people in the play in that he chooses love over hate and strives to do so until his breaking point.

When Tybalt insisted on hating, Romeo insisted on loving. When Tybalt beat Romeo down, Romeo forgave him and turned the other cheek. His love for Juliet made him an Emperor.

In the spiritual community, the Emperor/Empress energy is the ultimate vibrational energy. You have to go through all the other phases of the tarot, from the Fool to the King/Queen of Swords before you can become an Emperor/Empress.

Someone in the Emperor/Empress energy can embody any of the other energies on command. When Romeo finally lashes out at Tybalt and fights back in the wake of Mercutio's murder, he is embodying the King of Swords. The King/Queen of Swords is a protective energy -- protective of the self and protective of others.

I almost want to say that Shakespeare had Romeo go through these symbolic tarot phases on purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if he was at all familiar with the tarot. Romeo even has a dream toward the end of the play about becoming an emperor,

I dreamt my lady came and found me
And breathed such life with kisses
in my lips
That I revived and was an emperor.

Life Without Pure Love is Unbearable

"All. Are. PUNISHED!"
"All. Are. PUNISHED!" | Source

I think some people wonder why Juliet commits suicide when she finds Romeo's body. This can likely only be understood by people who have experienced true love.

Imagine meeting the person who is perfect for you, and what's more, they love you back! You try to go and be with other people but no one else compares. This one person is the only one for you, and you can't be happy with anyone else.

In other words, this person is your ultimate soulmate.

When two people have a soul connection, they become like lovebirds: if one dies, the other can not survive.

Romeo and Juliet have such a love connection. One can not exist without the other nor conceive of simply "moving on" and being with someone else. If one goes, so must the other. Romeo and Juliet were designed to be that way, because the entire point of their incarnation was to bring peace with their deaths.

And that's exactly what happened.


For never was there a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Romeo + Juliet [Blu-ray] [1996]
Romeo + Juliet [Blu-ray] [1996]

Own this beautiful story right now!


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    © 2019 Ash


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