Romeo & Juliet: Friar Lawrence
By Anthony Chan 10A
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s plays about tragedy. It is
about two lovers who commit suicide when their feuding famillies prevent them
from being together. The play has many characters, each with its own role in
keeping the plot line. Some characters have very little to do with the plot but
some have the plot revolving around them. Friar Lawrence does not have very
much time on stage but the time he does have is crucial to the plot line.
Through his words Friar Lawrence demonstrates the he is a good intentioned, yet
sometimes short-sighted, man who is not afraid to take risks to help others
One of Friar Lawrences most favourable traits is how good intentioned he is.
He may do something out of the ordinary if he thinks the outcome will help
someone he cares for. For example, when he says “In one respect I’ll thy
assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your households
rancour to pure love.”(Act 2, Scene 3), he is saying that the only reason he
will marry Romeo and Juliet is because he hopes that the marriage will end the
hostilities between the two houses. When he says “Shall Romeo by my letters
know our drift, and hither shall he come; and he and I shall watch thy waking,
and that very night shall Romeo bear thee to Mantua.” (Act 4, Scene 1), he tells
Juliet how everything will be all right. Unfortunately, for all his good
intentions the play still ends in tragedy.
Friar Lawrence is a man who is not afraid to take risks when he feels it is
neccesary to help someone. For example in Act 2, Scene 6, when he marries Romeo
and Juliet, he is risking his reputation as a Friar so he can help the two
lovers. Also, when he says “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this
distilled liquor drink though off;” (Act 4, Scene 1), he is suggesting that
Juliet drink a potion so that she might feighn her own death and avoid marrying
Paris. This is an extremely risky thing to do because anything might happen to
Juliet while she unconscious.
Even after all Friar did to help Romeo and Juliet the play still ended in
tragedy because of Friar Lawrences’ short sightedness.
When the Friar married Romeo Juliet in secrecy, he did not think of all the
complications that would arise but instead went on with the marriage because at
that time he thought it was the right thing to do. In Act 4, Scene 1, he gave
Juliet a sleeping potion without thinking of the possible outcomes of such an
outrages plan. He admits that much of the fault of the tragedy lies in his
hands when he says “And her I stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned
and myself excused”, and when he say “Her nurse is privy; and, if aught in this
miscarried by myself…” (Act 5, Scene 3).
Although Friar Lawrence does not have an especially large role, his role is
none the less important. It is because of his good intentions that he was
willing to help his friends that Romeo and Juliet were married – a key event in
the play. It is because of his willingness to take risks for his friends that
Juliet aqquired the sleeping potion – another key event in the play. Finally,
it was the shortsightedness of his actions that in part led to the deaths of the
two lead characters. This demonstartes that Friar Lawrence was a man who was a
man with good intentions who was willing to take risks to help his frieneds. If
he had been any other way, the play might not have turned out the way it did.