For Romeo and Juliet to be a tragedy, it must have a tragic hero. In Shakespeare’s plays, tragedy is seen as a story which contains an unhappy end. Moreover, a tragedy leads to the fall of the protagonist, which is tragic too. In this Shakespearian play, there are two tragic heroes, Romeo and Juliet, both being the main characters of the play.
To be tragic heroes, they must have a high estate and a tragic flaw which is the cause of their destruction. A tragic hero belongs to a well-known family of wealth or he has, as a person in society, a high status. Both Romeo and Juliet’s names have high estates. Juliet is a Capulet, a notorious family.
Thus, this family doesn’t have a status as high as the Motagues. Romeo is a Montague. The readers find out that the Montagues have a higher status than the Capulets when Benvolio highlights it: “My noble uncle” (Act I, Scene I, 141). So the Montagues seem to be a noble family.
As introduces in the prologue, Both Montague and Capulet families are well-known merchants, they have large houses and many servants. Furthermore, they are famous in Veronese people’s eyes. Tragic heroes have also to carry with them a tragic flow. Thus, in this play, both Romeo and Juliet have this tragic flow.
In Romeo’s case, the tragic end comes because he doesn’t think before he does something. He listens just to his heart instead to think twice, to balance all the consequences he knows he has to endure after his decisions. Even when he sees that Juliet is dead, he rushes to kill himself. Thus, in his last moments of life, when the poison made its’ effect, he sees Juliet is alive. Then he realizes that he made a mortal mistake just because of his rush.
Moreover, when Romeo falls in love so quickly with Juliet and totally forgets about his feelings for Rosaline it is more that obvious that he is unstable. He concentrates only on Juliet, Rosaline becoming just a memory in a flash. Juliet sees that Romeo’s falling in love with her was too fast and she is conscious that “It is too rash; too undvis’d, too sudden” (Act II, Scene II, 117-118). Thus, this love at first sight is the real energy of the tragedy. In Juliet’s case, she is too loyal to Romeo and this thing makes her a tragic hero.
This loyalty is very well represented in the moment when Juliet sees that Romeo has poisoned himself. For Juliet, this act makes her kill herself without hesitation, just because she cannot conceive her life without Romeo. These tragic flaws are the cause of Romeo and Juliet’s destruction. Both of them illustrate all tragic hero’s characteristics in the Shakespearian play.