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How far is Friar Lawrence responsible for the ultimate deaths of Romeo & Juliet?

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Introduction

How far is Friar Lawrence responsible for the ultimate deaths of Romeo & Juliet? In this essay I will discuss the character Friar Lawrence from the play "Romeo & Juliet" by William Shakespeare. I will discuss his character by showing how much responsibility he takes for the deaths of the couple. He is of the Catholic faith and very often has to give advice to the people of Verona. Like in the 16th Century, where people had a powerful belief in the Catholic way of life and regularly went to the church to confess or seek help, so the Friar was the person who gave advice to everyone. People could confide in him concerning their sins and secrets and know that they would stay secret in the hands of God. Because of this he is a powerful man. He has all the knowledge of what the public do, so if his advice is wrongly given then the consequences could be far reaching. I think that the advice he gives to Romeo to marry Juliet could maybe be the cause of their deaths. I will decide whether I think he is responsible after I have given evidence to back up the title of my essay. ...read more.

Middle

"Not body's death, but body's banishment". Romeo's argument is that if he is banished from Verona, then he might as well be banished from the world, because of course he won't be able to see Juliet. "There is no world without Verona's walls...hence 'banished' is banished from the world, and world's exile is death..." Friar Lawrence is determined to stop Romeo from killing himself, "I'll give thee armour (advice) to keep of that word...." Romeo ignores him, and repeats himself, and so it continues. All the advice he gives to Romeo to stop his suicidal ramblings is good. He calms him often, but at one point Romeo tries to stab himself. The nurse (who has turned up to see him) stops him. A piece of advice that I see as very good "Wilt thou slay thyself, and slay thy lady that in thy life lives?" is basically saying that if you kill yourself, many others will be affected, especially Juliet. He also points out that he would end up in a worse place, as "doing damned hate upon thyself " is a sin, and in killing himself, would end up in Hell. ...read more.

Conclusion

He takes responsibility and admits his "wrongdoing" Although finally, through their children's deaths, the families do stop feuding. In conclusion I can say I agree that Friar Lawrence is the cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Even in his earlier advice it seemed as though he was giving them support, but in reality, if it weren't for their marriage, this tragedy could never have happened. The reason for his agreement to their marriage was that he thought it would reconcile their families. Ironically, this did happen but only after the married couple were dead. His decisions seemed only to focus on the two lovers and himself. In being so narrow minded, he couldn't see how his actions could affect a wider group of people, nor did he ever consider the pitfalls of what he was planning. Although Friar Lawrence doesn't seem to play a major role, when examined, Shakespeare had created a strong character who in fact was in control of the two main characters, and influenced everything they did. Ultimately however, although I believe that the Friar was responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, he cannot be solely responsible, because if the families had not been enemies, the two lovers could have lived happily and the tragedy could have been avoided. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Coursework - Shakespeare Oliver Lines English Coursework Bingley Grammar ...read more.

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