Who is Really Responsible for the Deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy about two characters from feuding families who are brought together by fate. Romeo, a Montague, falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet, even though she is to be married to Count Paris, kinsman to Prince Escalus. Romeo and Juliet’s parents would not have approved their marriage. In secrecy, Friar Lawrence marries Romeo and Juliet, lies to Juliet’s parents about the situation, and creates a crazy plan to fake Juliet’s death, which does not turn out as intended. Friar Lawrence’s involvement in the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, his lying to the Capulets, and his role in the false death of Juliet are all factors that prove he is to blame in their untimely deaths.
The involvement of Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet’s marriage is what makes it possible for them to be together. Friar Lawrence is only trying to help Romeo and Juliet by marrying them. “In one respect I’ll thy assistance be; for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households’ rancour into pure love” (Shakespeare Act II, sc iii, ll 93-95). Friar Lawrence is only assisting in Romeo and Juliet’s marriage because he thinks that it will bring the two families’ feud to an end. At the time, he does not know what the effects of his actions will be, but Friar Lawrence should be more responsible.
It is not a smart idea of Friar Lawrence to lie to the Capulets. His lying is what gets Juliet into the situation; he should just tell the Capulets about Romeo. “God join’d my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands; and ere this hand by thee to Romeo’s seale’d, shall be the label to another deed” (Shakespeare Act IV, sc i, ll 57-59). Friar Lawrence should not agree to marry Paris and Juliet if he previously married Romeo and Juliet. She cannot marry Paris if she is already married. Lying to the Capulets only makes the situation worse, leaving Juliet with two options; marrying Paris, or faking...
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