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Friar Lawrence is an important character in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

Friar Lawrence is an important character in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. He is one of the most important central characters in Shakespeare's play. In fact, he adds flavour to the play. He is a person who can see wisdom and draw morals from his observations of nature and the society around him. Apart from this, Shakespeare presents him as a herb collector. We learn of this in Act 2 Scene 3 where we first meet him. Friar Lawrence does not have very much time on stage but the time he does have is crucial to the plot. Besides being philosophical, he can also perceive many aspects of human nature. He is able to see that "young men's love lie not in their hearts, but in their eyes." on witnessing how quickly Romeo forgot his love for Rosaline upon meeting Juliet. This great command of knowledge has led him to become deeply respected by all the citizens of Verona. His speeches have weight and authority and the ''whole city is much bound to him." As a priest, he has the 'wit of souls', i.e. he is responsible for both spiritual and mental welfare of human beings. One of Friar Lawrence's most favourable traits is how good intentioned he is. He may do something out of the ordinary if he thinks the outcome will help someone he cares for. ...read more.

Middle

Shattered by the news, Romeo is unable to think properly and rushes off to his dear Friar. Friar Lawrence consoles Romeo by telling him that the Prince was kind enough to turn '' that black word'death' to 'banishment'. He Stops Romeo from stabbing himself and offers a solution. He asks Romeo to '' pass to Mantua'' and return with '' Twenty hundred thousand times more joy '' when the graveness of the situation changes. In Act 4 scene 1, when Juliet sees that her marriage with Count Paris is certain, she breaks down and says '' And with this knife I'll help it presently'', as she threatens to kill herself if she is forced to marry Paris. Friar Lawrence comforts her and comes up with a plan of his to tackle the situation. '' Take this vial, being then in bed, And this distilling liquor drink thou off'' says Friar Lawrence so that Juliet might appear dead to everyone else but rejoice with Romeo at the end. As a man of the Church, he believes in Christian beliefs. Suicide is a great sin in Christianity. So, quite naturally , Friar Lawrence condemns this action in case of both the lovers. It would be a heartless man indeed who laid all the blame for this tragedy at the cell door of Friar Lawrence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fourthly, since the two lovers had led sheltered lives, they were quick to grab the first independent opportunity and take it immediately. Thus, Friar Lawrence may have been forced to take drastic measures for a love that had not yet blossomed. When Juliet woke up from her long sleep, the Friar proves to be a coward as he runs away from Juliet's tomb. If he had stayed back to comfort Juliet or even lead her out, he could have saved the lives of at least one of the "star crossed" lovers.. Lastly, being older than the lovers themselves, Friar Lawrence could not fully understand their temperament and hysterical emotions. As Romeo says, ''thou canst not speak of what thou dost not feel,'' meaning that for all his compassion and good intentions, Friar Lawrence is unsuitable as an advisor to the young couple. Friar Lawrence himself admits that he is at fault for the untimely deaths of Romeo and Juliet when he says, '' and here I stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned and excused'' at the end of the play when the damage has already been done. His short - sightedness is clearly evident and the play itself proves it. Friar Lawrence was a man with good intentions who was willing to take risks to help his friends. If Shakespeare had created him in any other way, the play would have been totally altered and might not end the way it did. ...read more.

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