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Romeo and Juliet - Friar Lawrence is the man who provided help for Romeo and Juliet.

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet coursework Friar Lawrence is the man who provided help for Romeo and Juliet. He married them in secret, he comforted them after Romeo killed Tybalt and of course, he came up with the idea of faking Juliet's death to re-unite them. "At the end of the play, Friar Lawrence is a broken man, he has failed all those he set out to help." With reference to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, I will be looking at Friar Lawrence's character, actions and his motives for helping Romeo and Juliet. What would have happened without his intervention? What other factors must be considered? I will be discussing whether or not he is responsible for their deaths, and who else could be more to blame. I will examine and comment on his 'failure' to help Romeo and Juliet. The soliloquy that Friar Lawrence opens act 2 sc. 3 with has speech that foreshadows what is to happen in the rest of the play. He uses the contrast of good and evil and that they are in everything, "smiles" and "frowning", "darkness" and "light" (act 2 sc. 3). "In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will; And where the worser is predominant, Full soon the canker death eats up the plant." (Act 2 sc. 3) This symbolises the later plot by suggesting that when the evil that is in everything is stronger than the good, there will be death and tragedy. ...read more.

Middle

The nurse believes his plan is the answer to the problem and does what he says willingly, "O Lord, I could have stayed here all night To hear good counsel. O, what learning is!" (Act 3 sc. 3) This shows that the nurse agrees with the friar and does not see what harm it could cause. The friar has furthered the plot by coming up with a plan and getting the nurse and Romeo to agree with it. However, this night will be the last happy time Juliet and Romeo will share together. After their wedding night Friar Lawrence has another plan to reunite Romeo and Juliet, but forever this time. In Act 4 sc. 1; he tells Juliet that if she is brave enough he can fake her death, "Thou hast the strength to slay thyself, Then it is likely thou wilt undertake A thing like death to chide away this shame" (Act 4 sc. 1) In doing this, Friar Lawrence involves himself further with the Capulets. By helping Juliet he is going against their wish for her, to marry Paris. He is preventing Juliet from going through with the marriage and providing an escape for her to go the Capulets' worst enemy. He is purposely causing grief to the Capulets and is then going to comfort them as if he has done nothing. If they were to find out he had done this they would be very angry and could have even tried to banish him, this could be why he tries to hide Juliet away when his idea falls to pieces. ...read more.

Conclusion

Maybe it was just bad luck that Romeo came to the vault when he did, if he had just taken another hour (or less) to get there he would have found Juliet awake instead of asleep. If he had come a bit later they would have been celebrating rather than mourning over each other's deaths, and then Friar Lawrence would have been praised for helping them instead of blamed for their deaths. It could also have been fate that Romeo didn't find out about the plan when he was supposed to, if he had known about it, then he could have just waited for Juliet and again everything would have turned out well for them. Friar Lawrence's idea was ingenious and in theory should have worked, but that would have made the story much less unique! It seems that Friar Lawrence is not the only one to blame because a number of people's actions led to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, not just one. However, that is not the way he saw it, he blamed himself for both of their deaths and was a broken man. What he really wanted was for them to be happy together, but it was not to be. In his own way he has failed those who he set out to help, but in my view that does not make him responsible for the failure. There was a good chance that his idea would have worked if it were not for fate. The families' feuding is really to blame, their pointless fights and arguments caused deaths on both sides, and what for? ...read more.

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