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How does Shakespeare present Friar Lawrence and the Nurse

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How does Shakespeare present Friar Lawrence and the Nurse as "substitute parents"? Stubborn parents sometimes assert themselves over their children and demonstrate authority over them. In the play "Romeo and Juliet", the lack of communication and arrogance of both Montague and Capulet's elders not only ruin two "star-crossed" lovers' lives, but also result in the no-ending family conflict between the two families. In Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence and the Nurse of Juliet are portrayed as the "substitute parents" for the two main characters, where they concern the "children" mostly and understand their situation. The actual parents of the two lovers, on the other hand, are depicted as overconfident and cruel, where they never listen to others. Friar Lawrence, being a Catholic monk, is kind and helpful to Romeo, whom he treats as a son. After finding out Romeo's true love, he decides to marry them and thinks about plans for them to escape from their families, as he says so in II, iii, 90, "In one respect I'll thy assistant be". ...read more.


Again for the nurse, Juliet prefers to inform her love on Romeo to the old nurse instead of her parents, saying "My only love spring from my only hate" (I, iii, 137). Juliet in Act 3 Scene 5, however, lies to her actual mother and declares her hatred towards Romeo using skilful language. Seeing that both lovers reveal their feelings to their substitute parents instead of the real parents shows their lack of communication with their actual parents and their trust to the Friar and the Nurse. During unhappy moments, being a parent will cheer their children up and comfort them. Both Friar Lawrence and the Nurse have proven themselves a good parent by relieving their "children". For instance, the banished Romeo is in despair when he realises he will never see Juliet again. Friar Lawrence at this point turns up and comforts Romeo, speaking mildly, "This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not." (III, iii, 28) ...read more.


The Friar often gives Romeo stern lectures, seen in Act 2 Scene 3. He also tells off Romeo like a normal father, for example when Romeo is about to stab himself with a dagger, he cries, "Hold thy desperate hand. Art thou a man?" (III, iii, 107) The Nurse, on the other hand, spoils Juliet. She knows Juliet loves Romeo, so despite the fact that the two families are enemies, she accepts Romeo straightaway. She even expresses Romeo is "honest"; "courteous"; "kind"; "handsome" (II, v, 55) without interrogate Romeo properly. She told Juliet promptly, "I take it is a gentlemanlike offer." (II, iv, 118) To conclude, the substitute parents of Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence and the Nurse, are treating them much better than their actual parents. They concern about their "children" troubles and loves, and comfort them when they have to. They should have known their "children" for a long time, otherwise Romeo and Juliet's would not have told them about their lovers. This is shown pure trust, which cannot be found between the children and the actual parents. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adrian Tam (G) - 1 - ...read more.

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