Romeo and Juliet


Act 4

Act IV: Scene 1

Paris goes to Friar Lawrence to discuss his upcoming marriage to Juliet. The wedding is planned for two days in the future. Friar Lawrence takes advantage of the haste of the marriage to try to give excuses for postponing it. Paris feels as if Capulet’s decision to encourage a hasty wedding is because of Tybalt’s death. He does not see any reason to delay the marriage, as he seems to feel that marriage to him would be good for Juliet and would cheer her up.

Juliet encounters Paris at Friar Lawrence’s cell when she goes to talk to him about Romeo. Paris is effusive about their upcoming marriage. Juliet knows that she cannot reveal that she has no intention of marrying him, yet she does not want to encourage Paris’s feelings for her. Paris’s behavior toward Juliet is exemplary; he is complimentary of her and seems to genuinely care about her feelings. This is important to realize, as Paris is just an unwitting third party who does not know how his actions or lack thereof will contribute to Juliet’s difficulties. Paris leaves, and Juliet then begins to share her fears with Friar Lawrence. She is already talking about suicide as an option, foreshadowing that she will eventually kill herself. However, Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan that does not involve Juliet’s actual death. He will give her a sleeping potion for her to take the night before her wedding. The potion will make her appear dead for a 42-hour period. Her family will put her to rest in the family tomb. Then Friar Lawrence and Romeo will come to retrieve her. Juliet agrees to the...

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