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Romeo and Juliet: Friar Laurence

Kelly Glorioso
At first glance, one may look over the character of Friar Laurence and dismiss him as only a minor player in the story of Romeo and Juliet. However, upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that the Friar plays an essential role in the development of the play and is notable for moving the action along. A Franciscan friar, he is also an expert of plants and natural remedies. At the beginning of the play, we learn that he is very close with Romeo and considers Romeo to be his pupil. Romeo considers Friar Laurence someone he can confide in, and therefore tells him about his newfound love, Juliet, as soon as possible. The Friar, however, is not convinced. He feels that Romeo is very hasty in his decisions, having been so infatuated with Rosaline, and states, “Young men’s love then lies/Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes”. Being a very wise man, he warns Romeo to slow down a bit, but Romeo stands firm. At this point, the only good Friar Laurence sees in the relationship is that it could eventually bring together the houses of Capulet and Montague. This first exposure to the Friar shows his careful, wise manner and his obvious care for Romeo’s best interests. This characterization of Friar Laurence stands firm throughout the play, as he attempts to guide Romeo and Juliet during their struggles. The next time we meet with Friar Laurence, he is about to perform the secret wedding ceremony for Romeo and Juliet. The Friar still believes that Romeo and Juliet are merely infatuated with each other and are not truly in love, but he agrees to marry them anyway. He does this because he still hopes that he could help bring their feuding families together. Friar Laurence’s sense of duty here identifies him as the “peacemaker” of the play. Ironically, his intentions were never truly fulfilled because the circumstances surrounding the marriage made it almost impossible for peace to occur. It...
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