shakemenu.GIF - 5152 Bytes

Romeo & Juliet
        Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's plays about 
tragedy.  It is about two lovers who commit suicide when 
their feuding famillies prevent them from being together.  
The play has many characters, each with its own role in 
keeping the plot line.  Some characters have very little to 
do with the plot but some have the plot revolving around 
them.  Friar Lawrence does not have very much time on stage 
but the time he does have is crucial to the plot line.  
Through his words Friar Lawrence demonstrates the he is a 
good intentioned, yet sometimes short-sighted, man who is 
not afraid to take risks to help others

One of Friar Lawrences most favourable traits is how good 
intentioned he is.  He may do something out of the ordinary 
if he thinks the outcome will help someone he cares for.  
For example, when he says "In one respect I'll thy assistant 
be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your 
households rancour to pure love."(Act 2, Scene 3), he is 
saying that the only reason he will marry Romeo and Juliet 
is because he hopes that the marriage will end the 
hostilities between the two houses.  When he says "Shall 
Romeo by my letters know our drift, and hither shall he 
come; and he and I shall watch thy waking, and that very 
night shall Romeo bear thee to Mantua." (Act 4, Scene 1), he 
tells Juliet how everything will be all right.  
Unfortunately, for all his good intentions the play still 
ends in tragedy.

Friar Lawrence is a man who is not afraid to take risks when 
he feels it is neccesary to help someone.  For example in 
Act 2, Scene 6, when he marries Romeo and Juliet, he is 
risking his reputation as a Friar so he can help the two 
lovers.  Also, when he says "Take thou this vial, being then 
in bed, and this distilled liquor drink though off;" (Act 4, 
Scene 1), he is suggesting that Juliet drink a potion so 
that she might feighn her own death and avoid marrying 
Paris.  This is an extremely risky thing to do because 
anything might happen to Juliet while she unconscious.

Even after all Friar did to help Romeo and Juliet the play 
still ended in tragedy because of Friar Lawrences' short 

When the Friar married Romeo Juliet in secrecy, he did not 
think of all the complications that would arise but instead 
went on with the marriage because at that time he thought it 
was the right thing to do.  In Act 4, Scene 1, he gave 
Juliet a sleeping potion without thinking of the possible 
outcomes of such an outrages plan.  He admits that much of 
the fault of the tragedy lies in his hands when he says "And 
her I stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned and 
myself excused", and  when he say "Her nurse is privy; and, 
if aught in this miscarried by myself..." (Act 5, Scene 3).

Although Friar Lawrence does not have an especially large 
role, his role is none the less important.  It is because of 
his good intentions that he was willing to help his friends 
that Romeo and Juliet were married - a key event in the 
play.  It is because of his willingness to take risks for 
his friends that Juliet aqquired the sleeping potion - 
another key event in the play.  Finally, it was the 
shortsightedness of his actions that in part led to the 
deaths of the two lead characters.  This demonstartes that 
Friar Lawrence was a man who was a man with good intentions 
who was willing to take risks to help his frieneds.  If he 
had been any other way, the play might not have turned out 
the way it did.

Back To the Top ] [ Back To Essay Page ]
Complete Works Cliff Notes Free Papers! Biography Shakespeare Links Shakespeare discussion