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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? In the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, the play ends in tragedy with the deaths of 'a pair of star cross'd lovers' (Prologue, line 6) along with three other characters beforehand in the core scenes of the play. It is questioned by many, of whom was responsible of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence can be easily blamed as he played a major role in creating and advising the pair, from the beginning of the play, Shakespeare portrays Friar Lawrence as a wise, educated and neutral character who is naturally inclined to see the good in people and situations. Because of these qualities, the audience will be inclined to trust him and his opinions as a character (as Romeo and Juliet obviously do.) However, towards the end of the play, when the play ends in tragedy, this attitude towards the Friar seems to fade away. In order to investigate the motifs of the Friar's actions, the actions must be thoroughly studied. Thus, here I am to comment upon to what extent the Friar is responsible of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The Friar's role in the play is parallel that of the Nurse as Juliet's confidante; Friar Lawrence supports Romeo. He is respected by Romeo and is genuinely fond of him. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, Shakespeare portrays the character of Friar Lawrence virtually strongly. This continues to keep the audience to trust the Friar of his decisions and again for the characters to rely on him. Regardless of what had happened we understand that Friar continues to create plans for the future; it may be seen as a prophetic future that he may know that it is to come, but it can be doubted as the plans made earlier did not go to plan. It is very easy to blame the Friar when his plans don't work accordingly which may be seen as his responsibility for what has happened. However, some of the plans of the Friar are not complex and are simply straightforward; this is evident when the Friar says to Romeo 'to blaze your marriage, reconcile your friends, Beg pardon of the Prince, and call thee back' (Act 2, Sc 3, line 150-51). The use of imperatives shows his status and how he finds respect through other characters especially the pair who looks up to him: Romeo and Juliet. Likewise, it comes to the attention of the audience that Juliet also seeks assistance from the Friar after Romeo is away in Act 4, Scene 1; portraying that both Romeo and Juliet comes to Friar for their rescue. His character can be seen as someone who is trying to complete a mission with a lot of obstacles on the way- to reunite the two families together through Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, as from the beginning of the play, Shakespeare uses rhyming couplets 'night...light' and antithesis's such as ' What is her burying grave, that is her womb' (Act 2, Sc 3, line 10) in Friar Lawrence's dialogues which suggests that the Friar is a character who has a balanced, reasoned and a open-minded view of the world and humanity. The rhyming couplets give fluidity to the soliloquy which suggests that what this character is saying is logical as his point moves cohesively from one point to the next. Also, his line 'none but for some, and yet all different' (Act 2, Sc 3, line 14) implies that this is a character who can see good in everyone- a very different person from the blinkered and feuding Capulets and Montagues. In conclusion, I personally believe that Friar Lawrence is not fully responsible of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet as he had motifs and helped the two lovers to be together much time as possible. He knew that they were destined to be together that nothing could put them apart even in death they both die in each others arms. His motifs were accomplished although not in the way he originally hoped it to be. Therefore, Friar Lawrence was responsible of the deaths only to a certain extent, because without his consecutive plans, the play would not have ended this way or the reuniting of the two families might never have happened. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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