and JulietHoly Saint Francis! What a change is here!
Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes(II, III)
This is only some of the wisdom spoken by Friar Laurence to young Romeo in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the decision made by him to wed thirteen year old Juliet in such hastiness. Romeo sought after the confidence of Friar Laurence when he first met Juliet as there was no one else he could turn to, especially when the couple decided they were going to be married. There are many are many instances in the play that indicate “Friar Laurence always intended the best for Romeo and Juliet.” That is, no matter the tragic outcome of the play, Friar Laurence’s only intention was for the marriage of Romeo and Juliet to be happy, everlasting and for it to bring peace to the civil feud between the families.
Although he is not seen very much during the play, Friar Laurence’s role is a highly important one. In Romeo and Juliet there are three main events, the marriage, the plan and the death, that relate to him. One of the most true and sensible things told to Romeo by the Friar, was a forewarning to the hastiness of the wedding;
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumphs die, like fire and powder
Which as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in its own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite
Therefor love moderately, long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. (II, VI)
These words aimed directly at Romeo mean that with the metaphor “The sweetest honey/Is loathsome in its own deliciousness” is that something so sweet can become sickly and you could quickly lose your appetite for it. Initially the Friar is trying to convince Romeo that Juliet would be something he would grow out of ie. like his love for Rosaline. In the last two lines of the quote, the Friar is trying to convince Romeo that nothing as important as love and marriage should not be jumped into when it could be done just as slow to be confident that the right decision is made leaving no room for regrets. After conversing with Romeo of the importance of marriage, the Friar was given a short time to think and finally realises how much Romeo really cares about Juliet and gives his consent to marry them. He also thought of what could come from the marriage, and recognises that good could come from the only heirs to the Montague and Capulet’s fortune being united in marriage, hopefully then the families would unite in peace.
The ongoing feud between the Montagues and Capulets is one of the key events of the play, for if there was no rivalry between the two houses Romeo and Juliet would have no reason to hide their love for each other. This is one time where Friar Laurence demonstrates his selfless motivations by marrying Juliet and her Romeo as without consent of the parents a marriage is not usually allowed to take place. These are Friar Laurence’s words to Romeo which show him risking his position in the Verona society as a highly regarded priest when he agrees to marry the couple;
Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell.
But come, young waverer, come go with me.
In one respect I’ll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your households’ rancor to pure love (II, III)
Not only did the Friar wed the couple and constantly support them by acting out their wishes continuously, there is an example of this when Romeo is banished and the Friar tells Romeo to go to his bride and spend their wedding night together and he sort out for Romeo, the banishment ordeal and organise a place for him to stay in Mantua while the Friar continues his plea for Romeo banishment to be revoked;
Ascend to her, hence comfort her.
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua.
Where thou shalt live till we can find a time
To blaze your marriage,