• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the roles of the nurse and Friar Lawrence in William Shakespeare's - Romeo and Juliet.

Extracts from this document...


Louise Constable 18th February 2002 Romeo and Juliet Coursework Compare and contrast the roles of the nurse and Friar Lawrence in William Shakespeare's - Romeo and Juliet in the following ways 1. Consider their contribution to the plot a. Select short sections from the play involving these two characters for close study, showing an appreciation of dramatic structure and stagecraft. b. Analyse what they tell us about Elizabethan society Shakespeare's' principle source for the plot for Romeo and Juliet was 'The Tragicall HIstorye of Romeus and Juliet (1562) a long narrative poem by the English poet Arthur Broke. The story of the two star-crossed lovers, and their feuding families, the Montagues' and Capulets', proved rich material for Shakespeare. Yet he had to lift this story from the page and into the theatre. The Nurse and Friar Lawrence share in the task or weaving together a large number of related impression and judgements. The Nurse supplies a good deal of information concerning Juliet's past. The nurse recalls Juliet's birth on the 31st July almost 14 yrs ago. She describes her beauty: 'thou wast the prettiest babe that e'er I nursed' and she raises the issue of marriage: 'and I might live to see thee married once' so setting the scene for this young beauty to fall in love and marry. ...read more.


Instead of the simple servant wisdom of hers, he has the educated view. At some points in the play he deals with both the lovers and helps them with there on going problems caused by the conflicting families. But for all the Friar's education, the audience cannot help but feel he is rash at times. He rushes to wed this very immature young couple. Does he not, for one moment, ponder over the consequences of marrying two people from such diverse families? Under his management, things go from bad to worse. The audience believe him to be capable of marrying Paris and Juliet together, essentially a bigamous marriage. But instead he gives Juliet a sleeping draft. With the Friar's sleeping potion, she easily convinces everyone around her that she is dead. On the strength of this, a funeral is arranged. Instead of orchestrating the couples' ultimate happiness, the subterfuge leads to Romeo taking his own life. On finding the grieving Juliet, the Friar should have placated her and turned her from suicide, but with cowardice he makes his escape. Should a man of his standing be capable of such sabotage? And yet we believe his motives to be pure if not misguided. He is seen to be Romeo's honest and trustworthy friend. We do see the Friar in parts of the play be the restraining voice of sense and prudence. ...read more.


The Friar in describing Juliet's drugged moribund state: 'No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest; The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade To waned ashes; thy eyes' windows fall,' When Romeo comes to tell the Friar of his new love for Juliet, the Friar loses patience with Romeo's elaborate metaphorical language, 'Be plain good son, and homely in thy drift. Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift' When the Nurse believes Juliet to be dead she says: O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day! Most lamentable day, most woeful day, That ever, ever, I did yet behold!' reflecting the grief that is felt by the audience. The tragedy is magnified by the bathos of the language. So succinct is Shakespeare in his prose that he is able to give the audience an all- encompassing summary of the plot in his opening lines. 'Two households both alike in dignity, In fair Verona where we lay our scene,....' We immediately are able to place the play, its high moral tone, its austerity and magnitude of tale. We are given a glimpse of Elizabethan life: affluent families with their own historic grudges. The prologue speaks of enduring love and conflict, of hate and untimely death and the futileness of love in the face of all that hatred. A historic documentary of monumental proportions, but which is told in such style and imagery that it stands the test of time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. Friar Lawrence and the Nurse

    In Act 3 Scene 2 the nurse misleads Juliet into thinking Romeo is dead, this is accidental, the nurse is speaking erratically because of the shock and grief she is feeling because of the recent event (Romeo has slain Tybalt). The nurse does not hide her emotions in this scene.

  2. How do Juliet's Nurse and Friar Lawrence contribute to the tragedy of the play?

    The Nurse is Juliet's closest friend and confidante, she has been Juliet's wet nurse and to the audience she comes across as a mother figure. We know how close they are because the Nurse can provide us with plenty of detailed information about Juliet, and she even knows her exact age, "I'll lay fourteen of my teeth".

  1. Compare and contrast the roles of the Nurse and Friar Lawrence in William Shakespeare's ...

    Her language is colloquial and repetitive and often full of irrelevancies. The coarseness and vulgarity with which she talks to Juliet is also apparent, and she does not refrain from talking about sex in her company. "I am the drudge, and toil in your delight.

  2. role and importance of Friar Lawrence

    Of course he wasn't to know that the marriage would have had such a tragic ending. However, he feels guilty and is prepared to pay for his error by being executed and says to the Prince: "If aught in this miscarried by my fault, let my old life be sacrificed."

  1. How does Shakespeare present Friar Lawrence and the Nurse

    He insists later on that Juliet has to marry Paris, or he will "drag thee on a hurdle thither." (III, v, 155). Lady Capulet is not helping either when Juliet asks for her aid, she merely utters, "Talk not to me, for I'll not speak a word." (III, v, 203)

  2. How far do Juliet's Nurse and Friar Lawrence contribute to the tragedy of the ...

    Friar Lawrence can also be said to be responsible for the tragedy in "Romeo and Juliet". Friar Lawrence knows both Romeo and Juliet well and appears to be a caring man with their best interests at heart. We know this as when Romeo comes to him to ask if he

  1. The roles of the Friar and the Nurse were to bring Romeo and Juliet ...

    When Romeo needs advice the first person he turns to is the Friar, this shows that they are close and despite the age difference the Friar is still a friend to him. The Nurse is very close to Juliet; she has taken care of her form a young age.

  2. Mercutio and Friar Lawrence - character study

    This is an important scene because it shows Mercutio in a normal situation with no pressure on him. He is his usual witty self; joking, teasing and using metaphors. His good mood rubs off on Romeo. This is shown when Romeo jokes with him, referring to Mercutio as a "good goose" trying to bite him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work