• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent did Shakespeare make us believe that the Friar was to blame for the tragic events that happened in Romeo and Juliet?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent did Shakespeare make us believe that the Friar was to blame for the tragic events that happened in Romeo and Juliet? In Shakespeare's play, 'Romeo and Juliet', Friar Laurence plays a major role; in the impossible marriage of Romeo and Juliet, in Juliet's "death" plan, and in Romeo's death. Without the Friar many crucial and tragic events would not have happened in 'Romeo and Juliet', but how much does Shakespeare convince us that the Friar is to blame for the tragic ending, and that he is the sole influence that drives Romeo and Juliet to end their lives so terribly? The Friar is established as an honoured man, an apothecary who sells herbs and medicines to the people of Verona, producing potions for both causes of good and evil. He makes his first appearance in the play at the beginning of Act Two, Scene 3, during which Shakespeare gives us a background to his thoughts and personality through his short lecture on herbal drugs that can kill and cure. "O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies/ In plants, herbs, stones, and their true qualities. / For naught so vile that on earth doth live / But to the earth some special good doth give; / Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use, / Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse." give the impression that he is a wise and intelligent man and as the whole play based on the balance of good and evil, it is almost epitomised in this speech on drugs which could be a reason to place more blame on him for his accurate prediction. Despite this, the Friar's close relationship with Romeo is also revealed in this scene, as Romeo confesses his love for Juliet to Friar Laurence, who is clearly accustomed to hearing Romeo's confessions of love and who has evidently given him advice in the past. ...read more.

Middle

The Friar recognises that Romeo and Juliet are far too ambitious in their desires to marry so soon and warns them that they should prepare themselves for the dreadful consequences and terrible situations that will arise. Again, the Friar's sophisticated and intelligent language contrasts with Romeo and Juliet's romantic sonnets, giving you the impression that the Friar is shrewd enough to resolve all the problems; he will marry the lovers, solve issues with Juliet's father and Tybalt and in the end the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues will be over - "In one respect I'll thy assistant be. / For this alliance may so happy prove, / To turn your household's rancour to pure love" (Act 2 Scene 3). Accordingly, it seems that the Friar knows all along that "These violent delights have violent ends" (Act 2, Scene 6). Shakespeare constantly uses the Friar to foreshadow future events in the play, possibly so that we believe that he one way or another knows the couples' fate and the plot is in his hands. Shakespeare represents him as a character that foretells the ending to a tragic tale and someone we can refer back to for evidence that the ending was in fact expected to happen all along. Could this be leading us to thinking that because he knows their fate, he is to blame for his prediction turning out to be true? Surely we cannot blame him simply because he guessed accurately, although automatically the audience would turn to the person who is mostly in control of the plotline and knows the fate of the two lovers outwardly before he even knows they are in love. If Shakespeare was in fact trying to lead his sixteenth century, and most likely very religious audience into believing that Friar Laurence was to blame for Romeo and Juliet's not-so-happy ending, what was he trying to say about religion in those times? ...read more.

Conclusion

It is quite ironic how all of the other characters seem to forgive him - "We still have known thee for a holy man", but how much are we led to believe that he can forgive himself? In his speech, Shakespeare leaves us not knowing if the Friar is truly sorry for his actions ("Miscarried by my fault, let my old life / Be sacrific'd") or if his whole speech is an act that he does not believe and his repentance simply a mask. To conclude, the Friar is a very interesting character to analyse in Shakespeare's play of Romeo and Juliet as there is no true answer as to whether or not Shakespeare was trying to show that he is to blame for the tragedy. He is guilty to some extent, for it is he who is mostly in control of the plotline throughout and could have done differently to adjust the tragic ending, but would the ending actually change if his actions had been different? The prologue tells the story in brief and foreshadows exactly what does happen in the end - "Two households, both alike in dignity... A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life". In telling the full outline of the story at the very start of the play, Shakespeare shows us that the fate of Romeo and Juliet will remain the same no matter what will happen along the way, and the Friar just happens to play a big part leading towards the inevitable ending. Even if the Friar did do things differently and the ending could have been altered, would we actually want the ending to change? Romeo and Juliet die in each others' arms for their extreme love for one and other and the feud between their two families is finally over, despite there being a few deaths along the way. Perhaps the Friar's plan is for the greater good after all, as a happy ending would have defeated the purpose of Shakespeare's tragedy. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Shakespeare Essay Second Draft Arta Ajeti 10B.2 Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero?

    There is also imagery of light and dark and good and evil. "So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows" and "what is her burying grave that is her tomb" Friar Lawrence is also referred to as "Ghostly sire" This is ominous as ghostly has a connotation with death.

  2. Who is the most to blame for the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

    Act 5 Scene 2 Throughout the whole play, the Friar does not consider the consequences of his actions, but only considers that whatever he does will go as planned, but this never seems to happen. This makes him an irresponsible influence on both Romeo and Juliet, which could be one of the reasons why they committed suicide.

  1. Writing about the story of Romeo and Juliet, in a prologue then the relationship ...

    To start with Shakespeare's theatre was made from wood and were rounded and had no roof. The theatres today have roofs and are made from brick. Another difference is the actors were all male and no females were allowed to act because acting in those days were thought of as being lazy and like child's play.

  2. How does Shakespeare create a sense of tragedy in the final scene of 'Romeo ...

    It appears to the audience that in Romeo's eyes his love is devouring death by his suicide. It almost feels like Romeo is hysterically trying to get-one-over on death, because death wants to make him live in the suffering he's experiencing.

  1. Romeo and Juliet. t is hard to make a conclusion as to who is ...

    For a religious man he would be on the 'great chain of being' and be rather high up because he is a religious man but some of the things he does in the play would surely move him down on the scale, and yet back in those days people did

  2. How Much is The Friar to Blame for Romeo's and Juliet's tragic deaths?

    In this scene (Act 2 Scene 3), Shakespeare shows Romeo as irrational and impatient, determined to marry Juliet after only one brief encounter the previous evening. The Friar even tries desperately to convince Romeo that he is being far too hasty, and that he should hold back and think about

  1. Free essay

    Examine closely, referring to the text whenever necessary, the character of Friar Lawrence in ...

    This Proves that Neither Romeo or Juliet have a close relationship to there parents, Friar Lawrence provides the comfort for both Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence is a man of the Roman Catholic Church; He performs services for the people of Verona and carries out ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, baptisms , confessions as well as celebrating the mass.

  2. To what extent is Romeo a tragic hero?

    You could also say that Romeo is a peacemaker because he is a friend of Benvolio who has a very peaceful nature. Benvolio always tries to stop the fights between the two families " Either withdraw unto some private place."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work