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The Character Of Friar Lawrence In Romeo And Juliet By William Shakespeare

2529 words - 10 pages

The Character of Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

In this essay I will discuss the character Friar Lawrence from the
play “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare. I will discuss his
character by showing how much responsibility he takes for the deaths
of the couple. He is of the Catholic faith and very often has to give
advice to the people of Verona. Like in the 16th Century, where people
had a powerful belief in the Catholic way of life and regularly went
to the church to confess or seek help, so the Friar was the person who
gave advice to everyone. People could confide in him concerning their
sins and secrets and know that they would stay secret in the hands of
God. Because of this he is a powerful man. He has all the knowledge
of what the public do, so if his advice is wrongly given then the
consequences could be far reaching. I think that the advice he gives
to Romeo to marry Juliet could maybe be the cause of their deaths. I
will decide whether I think he is responsible after I have given
evidence to back up the title of my essay.

In Act 2 Scene3, Romeo enters Friar Lawrence’s cell to tell him about
his ‘new love’, whom he met the previous night. In the speech that
Friar Lawrence gives at the start of this scene, he is talking to
himself. Many of the words seem to be linked to the deaths at the
end. “In plants…nought so vile, that on the Earth doth live. But to
the Earth some special good doth give, nor ought so good but, strained
from that fair use…” This quote is saying that plants are good for
you, but some result in death. It could be a hint that Shakespeare is
giving, as Romeo and Juliet’s poisons came from plants.

Then Romeo enters. The Friar straightaway perceives that Romeo is
troubled as he is up so early and seems melancholy. He enquires if
Romeo hasn’t been to bed that night, “That last is true, the sweeter
rest was mine”. This was Romeo’s answer. Friar Lawrence asks if he
spent it with Rosaline? Here he learns of his new love, Juliet. “With
Rosaline, my ghostly father? No, I have forgot that name, and that
name’s woe” Romeo seems to be moving on too quickly. This is exactly
the Friars reaction, (lines 65-80) The Friar basically says that he
shouldn’t have suddenly changed his mind and doesn’t think Romeo knows
what he’s doing.

The Friars advice is actually very good. The fact that he advises
Romeo that he is moving too fast, and it would be of benefit to Romeo
if he listened to him, means that perhaps the events following this
death could have been prevented if Romeo hadn’t married Juliet. Friar
Lawrence’s attitude soon changes however and he goes from saying, “To
lay one in, another out to have” to then agreeing that it would be
good for them to marry. “To turn your household’s rancour to pure
love.” This is what...

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