Even though he was not actually on stage for most of the play, he was the most important character in the play. There was basically three major parts that lead to the tragedy; marriage, the plan and the deaths. In all three of these parts Friar Lawrence played a vital role. His attempts to make the marriage of Romeo and Juliet was very admirable but were poorly planned. It these attempts that make his role the most significant one in the play. This is why Friar Lawrence is the most powerful character in the play.
The tragedy of their deaths could not have happened if Romeo had received the message in time. This is due to Friar Lawrence not planning how he was going to fake Juliet’s death. Due to his dauntless attempts to keep the two lovers together, he still failed. This was shown in Act 4 Scene 1 ” I do spy a kind of hope, Which craves as desperate execution As that is desperate which we would prevent”. One of his faults in the plan is shown in Act 5 Scene 3 when Friar John does not know the importance of the letter and does not give it to Romeo. “I could not send it. Nor get a messenger to bring thee, so fearful were they of infection”. Another fault to his plan is in Act 3 Scene 3 when he tells Romeo that he will send a friend of his to inform him the news. Instead of telling him that a fellow friar of his was bringing the message. “I’ll find your man, and he shall signify from time to time every good hap to your chances here”.
The magnitude of his role is showed again when he is involved in another major part of the play; the marriage. He risks his reputation as a Friar so he can unite to star crossed lovers in marriage. The character of Friar Lawrence is extremely important because if he would not have married Romeo and Juliet the play would maybe not ended in tragedy. This gamble is shown in Act 2 Scene 6 “Come, come with me, and we will make short work, For, by you leaves, you shall not stay alone Till Holy Church incorporate two in one”. He conceives that because of the marriage between Romeo and Juliet that the families will end their hatred for each other. This idea is what pushes to join the two in marriage, and is what is start the chain reaction to the deaths of the two lovers. Act 2 Scene 3 “In one respect I’ll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your households to pure love”. He tries to make sure the marriage is successful because he understands that if they rush into it there could be problems. As shown in Act 2 Scene 3 when he tells Romeo that people that rush in make mistakes. “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.”
Furthermore his death was the last part of the play that showed the Friar’s significance. In Act 4 Scene 1 it shows how Friar plan is very dangerous when, Friar says “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distilled liquor drink through off,”. So Juliet has planned to awaken to find young Romeo looking back at her, but finds him dead on the floor of the church. Which causes her to kill herself with a dagger. Also the Friar did not take in to effect what could happen when she was unconscious and even if Romeo would receive the message in time. His role is defined in the end of the play in Act 5 Scene 3 when he talks about he is responsible for what has happened to the two lovers. “And I here stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned and myself excused”. This is when he talks about how he made the mistake which inevitably lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
Friar gave it everything he had to try and allow for Romeo and Juliet to live in piece. Maybe with more time he could have planned it our a little better, but this is the way it was supposed to end, in tragedy. The countless mistakes by Friar are understandable but deadly. It was not just one part of the play that made Friar Lawrence the most powerful character but all of them collectively that created him as the body of the play.