Star-crossed Lovers Examples

Star-crossed Lovers

The phrase "star-crossed lovers" comes from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The words appear in Act I of the play, in the prologue, which summarizes what the audience is about to see:

Examples of Star-crossed Lovers:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

The term "star-crossed" alludes to astrology and the belief that the stars-and their alignments-determine destiny. During Shakespeare's time, in Elizabethan England, many gave credence to astrology. If there was a good outcome, then the stars "aligned." "Star-crossed" refers to a misalignment-meaning that a plan or course of action was destined to fail.

In the play Romeo and Juilet, the two young lovers are from warring families-the Montagues and the Capulets. They meet at a party and fall in love, but know that their families would disapprove. Helped by Juliet's nurse and Friar Lawrence (who hopes that a union of the two will help to heal the strife between the families), Romeo and Juliet marry in secret. However, through a series of unfortunate events, the play ends with Juliet faking her death to avoid marriage to another man, Romeo believing she is really dead and killing himself, and then Juliet killing herself.

In today's language, if a relationship is described as "star-crossed," then it means that the relationship is doomed to failure.

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