Compare And Contrast The Friar And The Nurse

1711 words - 7 pages

Romeo and Juliet: Compare and Contrast the Friar and Nurse"Romeo and Juliet" has many important characters. The most important of these are obviously, Romeo and Juliet. However, two characters that are almost as important, but extremely under appreciated, are Friar Lawrence and The Nurse. These two characters play similar roles but are first shown to be polar opposites. Shakespeare uses these characters very well to move the story along. Shakespeare also uses these characters as metaphors. The Nurse is supposed to be the heart and Friar Lawrence, the head. The Nurse and Friar are used not only to manipulate the characters but they are also used to affect how the audience is feeling. Both these characters have extremely important roles throughout the play, both very similar and both different.Shakespeare uses the Nurse and the Friar as two different parts of humans: the head and the heart. Shakespeare uses this theme in many of his plays. It is called The Great Chain of Being. This theme describes the two parts of humans. In the play the Nurse is a headstrong character that has great affection for Juliet and often makes decisions based on what feels right rather than thinking things through. The Nurse also speaks partially in prose, to demonstrate that she is less intelligible than many other characters. The Friar is supposed to represent the other end of The Great Chain of Being. He represents the head, the side that is thoughtful and cautious. This is especially expressed when in Act 3, Scene 3, Line 113 and 114, the friar says that, "… thy wild Acts denote the unreasonable fury of a beast". The beast of course being as far down on the heart side as you could go. Although throughout the whole play the Friar speaks in verse, both blank and rhyming, because it makes him sound educated. He is built up as this wise character that is always giving advice about taking things slow. He is a hypocrite who goes against his own advice and abandons responsibility for his actions. The best example of this is Act 2, Scene 3, Line 96. In this line the Friar says, "Wisely and Slow; they stumble that run fast." This line would work on a stage because you would have Romeo excitedly running off stage with the Friar bumbling along behind him. In the Zeffirelli film version, the Friar stumbles as he is giving this line. This works to remind the audience of how hypocritical this is. He has said this directly after making the decision to marry Romeo and Juliet within a matter of four lines. That whole scene is written in rhyming verse to give the feeling to the audience that the whole scene is being rushed. Then at the end what the Friar says when he realises it took him so long is, "Have my old feet stumbled at graves..." this made him too late to save Romeo. This really gets to the heart of the main theme of the Nurse and the Friar's role in the play. It is meant to be showing audiences that no matter how much you pray or how much education you have, there is...

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