Friar Lawrence: a Fundamental Character to the Result of Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet

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The Shakespearean play “Romeo and Juliet” is a well known tragedy of two forsaken lovers from rival families who spend an eternity together by taking their own lives. Although Romeo and Juliet are the protagonists, it is important to recognize that minor characters are fundamental to the final product of the play. Friar Lawrence is one such character. His appearances in the play though limited, are vital to shaping its outcome. His role is by far the most important in “Romeo and Juliet” as he not only creates a flow in the plot, but essentially serves as a parental figure to both Romeo and Juliet, while ultimately and inadvertently abusing his role as a respected priest.

Friar Lawrence is first introduced in act two where he is asked to marry Romeo and Juliet. Despite his hesitation, he agrees to marry the couple as he sees the marriage between a Montague and a Capulet, as a prelude to ending the quarrel amidst the two families. “In one respect, I'll thy assistant be: / For this alliance may so happy prove / To turn your households' rancour to pure love” (2.3.90-92). Friar Lawrence explains his motivation on the marriage to Romeo. The Friar's decision accelerates the plot - a wedding will soon take place between Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo is exiled from Verona and on the verge of suicide. Friar Lawrence prevents Romeo from killing himself by developing a plan that will allow Romeo to bid his lady Juliet good bye before leaving. Later, Juliet is also in a suicidal state and it is again Friar Lawrence who creates a scheme that will avert Juliet's marriage to Paris. The plan, however, involves Juliet faking her own death. Thus, without Friar Lawrence to take control over the path of the plot, the drama of the play would not exist, nor would the close relationship he forms with Romeo and Juliet.

Throughout the entire play, it is clear that each of Friar Lawrence's decisions are made with the happiness of Romeo and Juliet in mind. Although he is not related to...
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