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To what extent is Friar Lawrence responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ?

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Introduction

To what extent is Friar Lawrence responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet ? Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare in 1597. At this time the Elizabethan view of love was that a man should fall in love with the woman and not the other way round. Once the man shows his feelings, the woman should spurn him to keep her good name. He becomes very sad and upset, he becomes lovesick, writes poetry and doesn't eat or sleep until things change. This is portrayed by Romeo's actions towards Roseline. This was the view of the aristocratic classes. There are other types of love in which they believed. These are sexual love, which can be described as pure lust, dutiful love, which is the love for your family, an arranged marriage or out of duty such as Juliet and Paris. There is also true love. The Friar is linked to both families through the church and religion. He is a very keen gardener and he loves his flowers and herbs. The Friar acts as a confidant to Romeo and he knows everything about Romeo and all his secrets because Romeo tells him everything. Friar Lawrence is aware of the family feud between the Montague's and the Capulets and comforts both Juliet and Romeo. He thinks them getting together will end the feud. "For this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households' rancour to pure love". ...read more.

Middle

Friar Lawrence thinks that if he makes this marriage work, he can re-unite the families, "for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your household's rancour to pure love". Friar Lawrence knows that both families will be annoyed but thinks that in the long run he will make peace in the streets of Verona and also be seen as a hero. So although he knows that there are risks, he believes that they are worth it for everyone including himself. The Friar being a religious man wouldn't want to see the oaths of marriage broken, "thy dear love sworn but hollow perjury killing that love which thou last vowed to cherish", especially between these two people, because he cares for them and there are rewards, that is to reunite the families, if they can fulfil their vows. This marriage is one which the Friar wants to work so much that he comes up with a dangerous plan which will upset the Capulets very much but would keep the marriage alive and portray his actions in a favourable light. He comes up with a plan, "take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distilling liquor drink thou off". All that Friar Lawrence wants is for Romeo and Juliet to be together but he does it in such a way that it leads to confusion, anger and regret. ...read more.

Conclusion

Juliet's father, Lord Capulet was very angry at Juliet for not wanting to marry Paris. "An you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets". Juliet becomes very angry and talks about suicide. "Or if you do not, make the bridal bed. In that monument where Tybalt lies". Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan to help her escape from her father and the marriage to Paris. If Juliet's father had not got so angry and wanted Juliet to marry Paris, maybe she and Romeo would have stayed alive. Fate and Destiny had predicted all along that they would die so maybe it was no one individual's fault but simply in the stars anyway. "From ancient grudge break new mutiny. Pair of star crossed lovers take their life" In conclusion, the Friar can not be held totally responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. This can be demonstrated by his genuine motives for his actions and the others involved. He was responsible for their marriage, all aspects of the plan including the drugging. He was the one that always made the arrangements for their meetings and reunions. However, the Friar's motives were genuine and he never intended for their deaths but was concerned for their wellbeing. Furthermore Friar Lawrence was not the only one implicated as the Nurse, Tybalt, Mercutio, both sets of parents and the Apothecary all played a part in Romeo and Juliet's death. The Friar was an innocent agent of fate, their deaths were pre-destined to happen after they fell in love. Matt Bell 10R ...read more.

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