Friar Lawrence: Friend or Foe?
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet goes back for centuries. It still captivates millions of readers every year. Is it the way Shakespeare always keeps people guessing? How about the theme of relying on fate? Maybe its because every time this wonderful piece of literature is read no one can decide exactly on who is blame? Is it really Juliet's fault for falling in love and taking chances? Is it their parent’s faults for fighting in the first place? Yes, but no. Friar Lawrence is the one to blame for the death of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Lawrence is the one who marries them, gives Juliet a sketchy potion, and does not live up to his promise at the end of the play. Friar Lawrence may be a wise, truthful, friendly human being, however that means nothing when it comes to the fact that he killed the pair of star crossed lovers.
Lawrence proves to be very wise on the subject of love and lust. On the other hand, his choices changed Romeo and Juliet's lives forever. “Young men's love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.” (II, III, 67-68). This is noted after Romeo pleads that he has forgotten all about Rosaline and intends on being wed to Juliet. The Friar realizes Romeo may simply be acting on impulse after his recent heartbreak. He does not wish for either child to get in trouble or suffer any more heartbreak, however that is exactly what he sets them up for. “Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell. But come, young waver, come go with me. For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households' rancor to pure love.” (II, III, 88-92). This means, even though Romeo says he loves Juliet, he has not lived to fully know what that means. However, the Friar will marry them for the hope that their family feuds will finally end. Although the outcome of the decision could be very grand, it also could end in a whirlwind of disaster. By marrying Romeo and Juliet, the Friar is putting the idea that what they are experiencing is true love instead of lust. During the actual wedding, the Friar warns them to “Love moderately: long love doth so: too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.” (II, VI, 14-15). Stating this proves that he still has some sense and thinking behind his marriage of Romeo and Juliet.
Of all the possible solutions for Juliet not to marry Paris and to be with Romeo, The Friar chooses the most unwise choice of them all. Why would someone give a thirteen-year-old, love struck girl a sleeping potion? One moment Lawrence is saying he will not help her and the next he is somewhat setting her up to die. “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distilling liquor drink thou off,” (IV, I, 93-94), the Friar goes on to describe exactly what will happen. Juliet will be stuck in a comma like state for a whole day. While she is 'dead' Friar Lawrence is to send a letter to Romeo notifying him to come and take Juliet from her tomb at night while everyone is asleep. In all truthfulness,...