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How far does Friar Lawrence seem to be a wise sympathetic priest and how far does he seem to be a meddling fool?

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English GCSE - Shakespeare. How far does Friar Lawrence seem to be a wise sympathetic priest and how far does he seem to be a meddling fool? From background knowledge of social traditions at the time, the audience know w that the parents of the youths are much "removed" from their children. They are seldom around when their children experience trouble and this is probably why both Romeo and Juliet choose to confide in the Friar instead. It was tradition for the parents of a young girl to arrange her marriage for her, at an early age of around 14. Generally families married their daughters into wealth, it was not a case of the children falling in love, it was more being 'put' in love by their parents. Many of the parent's decisions were made without consideration for their children feelings, thus, the lack of effective communication and, especially in Juliet's case; the absence of demonstrations of parental love is obvious. As a result, the Friar appears to play a 'surrogate parent' to both Romeo and Juliet. Although Friar Lawrence is not one of the main characters in Romeo and Juliet, his role and actions in the play have a large part to play in the consequences and tragedy. If it had not been for Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet may not have ever been wed, Juliet may not have had to fake her death to prevent herself from marrying Paris and the play may not have ended in tragedy. ...read more.


When the Nurse knocks at the door of the Friars cell and tells Romeo of how grief-stricken Juliet is, Romeo begins to blame himself and using the dagger tries to kill himself with a dagger, but both the nurse and Friar Lawrence try to stop him and manage to stop him doing such a dreadful thing. This again shows the kind, wise, sympathetic side, as although committing suicide was seen as a sin not even human worth in this time period, the Friar was willing to forgive Romeo and forget the incident as he knew how devastated Romeo was at the days events. Friar Lawrence is later faced with another problem. In Act Four, Scene One, he is faced with the prospect of marrying Juliet and Paris on the following Tuesday. The Friar knows this is a difficult situation for him as he has already married Romeo and Juliet without their parents consent. So when Juliet tells the Friar that she really doesn't want to marry Paris and if she is faced with having to, she would rather kill herself he decides to give her a potion which will make her appear dead for a certain length of time, and then she will wake, but y this time she will have missed the wedding and can run away with Romeo to Mantua and their parents need know nothing of the marriage. This again shows his caring and sympathetic nature. ...read more.


He had hoped to restore peace to Verona's brawling streets and "turn [their] households' rancour to pure love" through the "holy act" of Romeo and Juliet's marriage, which was the reason why he consented to the act to marrying them. However, Fate, "a greater power than [he could] contradict... thwarted [his] intents." Friar Lawrence's character only appears to be foolish sometimes because he usually appears in major scenes, in which he is faced with many difficult situations in which he has to think on his feet, and so maybe he does not have enough time to consider the problem and come up with a suitable solution but one may feel that if we consider the situation he is in the solutions he does come up with are very good ones. Friar Lawrence is honest in his recounting the events in the play. The noble side of Friar Lawrence's character is revealed when he offers to take the blame for the deaths of Romeo, Juliet and Paris. He offers to "let [his] old life/ be sacrificed some hour before his time/ unto the rigour of severest law." In these lines, he admits his misguidance in secretly marrying the young couple. Here he takes the responsibility upon his own shoulders and willingly faces the punishment. Throughout the play Friar Lawrence has the best intentions to help those who he cares for and who are in need of his help. It is this attitude that brings him across as a sympathetic, wise man instead of a meddling fool. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emily Morrison. 10MKB. ...read more.

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