To What Extent Was The Friar To Blame For The Deaths Of Romeo And Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet was an ancient masterpiece that time and time again engages audience by displaying strong ideas that portray into our own lives. Author, William Shakespeare displays a wide variety of context about Elizabethan England to portray his own version of ageless ideas. This is a tragic love story that focusses on the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet. They are meant to be sworn enemies because of the long feud between their families, Capulet’s and Montague’s. Romeo Montague and his friends gate crash a Capulet party and Romeo meets Juliet Capulet and they instantly fall in love. However, Friar Laurence’s rash actions such as marrying Romeo and Juliet, being a coward, his selfishness impacted and caused the death of Romeo and Juliet.

The forbidden wedding of Romeo and Juliet could not have happened without the Friar. The Friar willingly agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet, even though he knew it would cause issues later on. The Friar thinks that '...this alliance may so happy prove/ To turn your households' rancour to pure love.' (II iv 91-92) This shows that the Friar has hope of their marriage working somehow. As a result, he decides to go ahead and marry the two lovers. However, as time passes, the Friar says that he has regrets about the marriage. The Friar feels that 'too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.' (II vi 15) the Friar means that he senses that this whole wedding is happening too fast and starts doubting his actions. Shakespeare uses tactile imagery when Romeo and the Friar are talking about him having regrets about the wedding, “Wisley and slow; they stumble that run fast” he is implying that they the wise thing to do is take things slow because you stumble when you take things too fast. This technique paints a picture in the audience’s head of what the Friar is wanting Romeo to do. If the Friar had thought this important decision clearly through, he may have prevented the future tragedies. Therefore, the Friar knew all along, 'These violent delights have violent ends.' (II vi 9) The Friar knew that this is a difficult situation. Under these circumstances the Friar predicts that Romeo will sink into a deep depressive stage, as a result of the fact that he cannot see his wife. Although, Juliet becomes depressed as well and is grieving over the truth of her and Romeo's separation. Without the Friar, the two lovers would not have been married in the first place and which would have prevented both depressions and the future problems to come.

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Another factor that played a main role in the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet is the fact that Friar Lawrence was a coward. When Juliet woke up after her two-day sleep only to find Romeo and County Paris dead alongside her, she is in a very unstable mind. Instead of being genuine and staying with Juliet to comfort her and make sure that she doesn’t harm herself or others, he tells her that he will make her a nun “Come, come away. Thy husband in thy bosom there lays dead and Paris too. Come, I’ll dispose of thee among a sisterhood of holy nuns.” (5. 3.166-169). The only selfish reason he wanted to make Juliet a nun is so that no one ever finds out that he was the one who married the pair and gave Juliet the potion which resulted in Romeo’s death. After that, he leaves Juliet alone “Stay not to question, for the watch is coming. Come, go, good Juliet. I dare no longer stay.” (5.3.170-171). By doing this, he leaves Juliet to hurt herself, knowing full well how emotionally unstable she is right now. He was scared of being caught by the watch and having to confess that he was the one who secretly married Romeo and Juliet. He was too scared to own up to the mistakes he made and take responsibility for his actions, and because of that cowardice Juliet killed herself.


The bad advice keeps coming. “Hold, daughter. I do spy a kind of hope, which craves as desperate an execution, as that is desperate which we would prevent.” If, rather than to marry County Paris When Juliet turns to Friar Lawrence in desperation because her parents are forcing her to marry Paris, the Friar creates the crazy scheme for Juliet to fake her own death. He tells her that if she has the strength to take her own life rather than marry Paris then she should have the strength to pretend she's dead to avoid the love of another man. This meant Juliet putting her neck on the line with the help of a coward. Shakespeare displays foreshadowing in Act 2, scene 6, lines 9-11 when Friar Laurence says, “These violence delights have violent ends and in their triumph die, like dire and powder, which as they kiss consume.” Friar Laurence Foreshadows that Romeo and Juliet will die. Therefore, the Friar knew what was going to happen but did not act upon his thoughts. Another example, of the Friar's selfish intentions, is the tomb scene, where upon finding Juliet in there, two dead bodies lying on the floor, he needs no inducement to leave, which he does so extensively. Hence, the Friar did not understand how to be a leader and did not follow through with his words.

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To What Extent Was The Friar To Blame For The Deaths Of Romeo And Juliet. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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