Who Caused the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

The deaths of both Romeo and Juliet in William Shakespeare's tragedy were suicides, resulting from their feuding families' disapproval of their romance. Romeo kills himself by ingesting poison, when he thinks a drugged Juliet has died. Juliet then stabs herself after awakening to find Romeo's lifeless body.

Although suicide is the direct causes of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in the story, an indirect cause of the young lovers' deaths is the long-running feud between their families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Because of this feud, when Romeo attends a party given by the Capulets in disguise and falls in love with Juliet, the conflict of the tragedy is set in motion and gives rise to one of the more famous lines in the Shakespeare canon, uttered by Juliet, "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name."

Additionally, the deaths of the young lovers were precipitated by the murder of Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, during a sword fight, after Tybalt inadvertently murders Romeo's friend Mercutio. The death of Tybalt causes Romeo to be banished from the lovers' hometown of Verona, which leads to the ensuing confusion that makes Romeo believe that the drugged Juliet is dead when he comes upon her.