How Friar Lawrence is Responsible for Romeo and Juliet's Death

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Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy- but it did not have to be. Romeo and Juliet is the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, who are the son and daughter of two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Written by the famed playwright Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet take place in the 14-15 century in the cities of Verona and Mantua, cities in northern Italy. After a series of events that involves Romeo getting banished from Verona and Juliet getting forced to marry a count, Paris, they kill themselves. It has been argued for centuries about who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. But, once reading the book thoroughly and consulting several sources, it is obvious who is solely to blame- Friar Lawrence. Because of the actions of Friar Lawrence, the play ended with two grieving families instead of two happy newlyweds. Although many characters contributed to their deaths, only Friar Lawrence was solely responsible for them. Friar Lawrence’s cowardice, secrecy, and miscommunication led directly to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
The first factor that played a key part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet is the fact that Friar Lawrence was a coward. When Juliet awakened after her two-day sleep only to find Romeo and County Paris dead, she is in a very unstable state. Instead of being responsible 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 secretly married Romeo and Juliet and gave Juliet the potion. After that, he leaves Juliet “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 harm herself, knowing full well how emotionally vulnerable she is right now. He was afraid of being caught by the watch and having to confess that he secretly married Romeo and Juliet. He was too afraid to own up to the mistakes he made and accept the consequences for his actions, and because of that cowardice Juliet killed herself. The great Shakespearean critic, August Von Shlagel said that “The cruel world is too terrible a place for a love as tender as that of Romeo and Juliet” (Hacht, 1). Friar Lawrence definitely provided some of that cruelty with his selfish actions.
The second factor that played a part in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet is Friar Lawrence’s secrecy about Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. He thought it was good idea to keep Romeo and Juliet’s relationship a secret, when obviously it was not. When he gave consent to marry Romeo and Juliet, he said this to Romeo “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...

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