Friar Lawrence is to Blame in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence has a major role. As a member of the Order of St. Francis, a group of wise and generous priests, Romeo and Juliet trusted Friar Laurence completely, turning to him for advice, and solutions. He was there throughout Romeo’s and Juliet's lives; he married them, came up with a plan to keep them together, and was a friend throughout their tragedies. However, Friar Laurence’s rash action in marrying Romeo and Juliet, his shortsighted plan for rescuing Juliet from an unwanted marriage to Paris, and his fear of committing sin all contributed to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

         Friar Laurence, through his lack of good judgment, is largely responsible for the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.  Rather than being supportive of them and helping them disclose their loving situation, Friar Laurence took the “easy” way out.  He succumbed to their desire to elope.  He secretly married Romeo and Juliet instead of standing behind them and encouraging them to confront their families with the facts about their commitment to and love for each other.  As a result, an even stronger bond between them was created through marriage: "For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone / Till holy church incorporate two in one" (2.6.36-37).  Friar Laurence married Romeo and Juliet, hoping that their union would bring an end to the constant feuding between their two families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Though the friar’s intentions were good and above reproach, they were certainly missteps along a pathway to tragedy.  None of the tragedies would have occurred if Romeo and Juliet were not married. When Tybalt challenged Romeo to a fight, Romeo, now being related to Tybalt through marriage, refused to fight, saying, "Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee / Doth much excuse the appertaining rage / To such a greeting --" (3.1.61-63). When Mercutio stepped in to defend Romeo’s honor, Romeo tried to stop the fighting.  It was his interference that led to Mercutio’s death. "Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under / your arm"(3.1.102-103). Shortly thereafter, in a rage that would cause his banishment, Romeo lashed out at Tybalt and killed him saying, "--Tybalt, that an hour / Hath been my cousin. O sweet Juliet! / Thy beauty has made me effeminate, / And in my temper soften'd valour's steel"(3.1.112-115)!  Romeo and Juliet's marriage has caused Mercutio and Tybalt's deaths, and Romeo's banishment. Friar Laurence was the instigator of all these woeful events; he started the tragedies by marrying Romeo and Juliet.

         Even after Mercutio's death and Romeo's banishment, Friar Laurence did not see the destructiveness of Romeo and Juliet's marriage. Instead he continued to attempt to keep Romeo and Juliet together. The plan he concocted for this, however, was shortsighted,...

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