The lovers and their battle with authority is reminiscent of As You Like It and The Winter's Tale. "Characteristically, those comedies concern themselves with the inborn, unargued stupidity of older people and the life-affirming gaiety and resourcefulness of young ones. The lovers thread their way through obstacles set up by middle aged vanity and impercipience. Parents are stupid and do not know what it best for their children or themselves
Theme of light
When Romeo initially sees Juliet, he compares her immediately to the brilliant light of the torches and tapers that illuminate Capulet's great hall: "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" (1.4.46). Juliet is the light that frees him from the darkness of his perpetual melancholia. In the famous balcony scene Romeo associates Juliet with sunlight, "It is the east and Juliet is the sun!" (2.2.3), daylight, "The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars/As daylight doth a lamp" (2.2.20-1), and the light emanating from angels, "O speak again bright angel" (2.2.26).
Here Romeo, transformed into shimmering immortality, becomes the very definition of light, outshining the sun itself. However, despite all the aforementioned positive references to light in the play, it ultimately takes on a negative role, forcing the lovers to part at dawn:
Early in the play, Romeo is painfully aware of the passage of time as he pines for Rosaline: "sad hours seem long" (1.1.159). Mercutio is the first to address the problem of "wasted time", and after his complaint, a sudden shift occurs and time quickens to rapid movement. Capulet laments that the years are passing too fast, and Juliet cautions that her love for Romeo is "too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden...too like the lightening" (2.2.120). Soon time begins to aid in the destruction of the lovers. Capulet rushes ahead the marriage date, insisting Juliet wed Paris a day early, and thus forcing her into swift and, ultimately, fatal action. "The fast-paced world that Shakespeare builds up around his characters allows little possibility for adherence to Friar Lawrence's counsel of "Wisely and slow." In such a world to stumble tragically is surely no less inevitable than it is for Lear to go mad in the face of human ingratitude." (Cole, p. 17). As with Shakespeare's manipulation of the theme of light, it can be said that his reliance on time as an increasingly menacing force against the lovers is immature and artificial.
As critic Bertrand Evans points out: "Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy of unawareness" more so than any of Shakespeare's other plays. "Fate, or Heaven, as the Prince calls it, or the "greater power," as the Friar calls it, working out its purpose without the use of either a human villain or a supernatural agent sent to intervene in mortal affairs, operates through the common human condition of not knowing. Participants in the action, some of them in parts that are minor and seem insignificant, contribute one by one the indispensable stitches which make the pattern, and contribute them not knowing; that is to say, they act when they do not know the truth of the situation in which they act, this truth being known, however, to us who are spectators." (The Brevity of Friar Laurence, p. 50)
The idea that Fortune dictates the course of mankind dates back to ancient times. Those writers of the medieval world incorporated the goddess Fortune into Christianity and made her God's servant, responsible for adding challenges to our lives so that we would see the importance of giving up our tumultuous earthly lives to God. The most influential treatise on the theme of Fate was The Consolation of Philosophy, written by the scholar Boethius (A.D. 475-525). Written while he awaited execution, it is a dialogue between himself and his guide 'Philosophy', who explores with him the true nature of happiness and fate, and leads him to hope and enlightenment.