Examine how Shakespeare presents the character of
Friar Lawrence ‘Romeo and Juliet’
In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Shakespeare presents Friar Lawrence in many ways, such as, a holy man, a fatherly figure but also as a coward. Friar Lawrence is a key instrument of fate within the play; he has good intentions but ends up helping fate to create tragedy.
In the first scene the audience see Friar Lawrence in; he is presented as being extremely knowledgeable. The audience see him gathering plants and herbs and demonstrates his knowledge by saying ‘For this being smelt, with that part cheers each part cheers each part being tasted, stays all senses with the heart.’ This line portrays the idea that each cure for an illness can also be deadly if taken in the wrong way. This demonstrates his knowledge of plants, herbs and medicine. As well as this the Nurse enters one scene and praises Friar Lawrence for his ‘good council’ by saying ‘O, what learning is!’ This emphasises the Friar’s knowledge and shows that other characters view him as intelligent.
Secondly Shakespeare presents Friar Lawrence as not only being a holy man but as being aware of the world or ‘worldly wise.’ This is proven at many points throughout the play such as when Romeo comes to Friar Lawrence’s cell and the Friar can tell that Romeo hasn’t been to sleep because he has been with a girl. This is illustrated in the line ‘Our Romeo hath not been to bed tonight.’ As well as this Friar Lawrence comments on how quickly Romeo falls in love with one girl to the next by saying ‘Young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts but in their eyes.’ This demonstrates that Friar Lawrence is aware that not all love is true. Furthermore, Friar Lawrence agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet so hastily to ensure that they do not have sex before marriage. This is proven in the lines ‘We shall make short work for by leaves, you shall not stay alone, till holy church incorporate two in one.’ This again emphasises how ‘worldly...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document