January 22, 2006
Romeo and Juliet Literary Essay
In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, are faced with the dilemma of trying to get married in the midst of an ancient feud between their two families. In their crisis, Romeo and Juliet seek guidance and consultation from the local Franciscan friar in their town of Verona, Friar Lawrence. Many people consider Friar Lawrence to be a wise and intelligent man and offer good advice, but it may not be that way. Friar Lawrence instead ends up contradicting his own advice with his actions. Whether he is talking to Romeo about whether he and Juliet should marry, or whether Juliet should take the poison, Friar Lawrence is continually offering advice that he himself does not follow. While Friar Lawrence’s advice is helpful in many cases, he still contradicts it with his actions, even if not purposely. This shows that, in the end, Friar Lawrence is merely a hypocrite offering his distorted option. One of the places that Friar Lawrence offers hypocritical advice is when Romeo consults with him on how he wants to marry Juliet. When Romeo first goes to Friar Lawrence, excitedly telling him about his new love, Juliet, Friar Lawrence is outraged, telling Romeo that he, like most young men, is not really in love, but simply lusts for a new woman so quickly after he was dying for his last. He says that Romeo is being too hasty and unwise in marrying Juliet, and that he will eventually move on to someone else. But despite his own advice, the Friar marries the couple. In fact, right before he marries Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence says this at the end of a small speech to the couple: “Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow” (II.vi.15). This line basically means that doing something too fast can be just as bad as doing it too slowly. This clearly contradicts the very act that Friar Lawrence is doing at that moment, which is marrying Romeo and Juliet. While the advice that...
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