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

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet To what extent is Friar Lawrence responsible for the downfall of Romeo and Juliet? "And here I stand, both to impeach and purge, Myself condemned and myself excused." This was said by the Friar to the Prince in act 5 scene 3, right after Romeo and Juliet are found dead. Throughout the play, Shakespeare has emphasized the importance of Friar Lawrence. He was the first to know that Romeo has fallen in love with Juliet, the first to know of their wedding, and the man who planned Juliet's 'death'. However, were Romeo and Juliet killed by his love? Or was it just inevitable fate? I think that although Friar masterminded the 'death', brought the two together in holy matrimony, I feel that the Friar was not responsible for the death of the two 'star crossed lovers'. Friar Lawrence enters the play in act 2 scene 3. ...read more.

Middle

We can also see that Romeo respects the wise Friar as when given advice on Rosaline or Juliet, Romeo listens. An important, ironic advice that the Friar gives that predicts the entire play is 'Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.' Another sign of respect for the Friar is seen when Romeo greets him. However, we too can see that the Friar respects Romeo. At first when Romeo told the Friar of his love for Juliet, he disapproved, but then agreed to help as he hoped that their love for each other would turn their family rivalry into pure love. This not only shows respect for Romeo's decision, but concern of the well being of both households. The next time the Friar appears is in act 3 scene 3, Romeo and Juliet's wedding. Although he does not say much, his presence is crucial. He plays the part of the priest, a friend and a witness. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the Friar had not left, Juliet would still have committed suicide, thus leading to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Despite Friar Lawrence's rash decisions such as giving Juliet the potion, marrying Romeo and Juliet and advising the young couple, I still feel that we cannot blame the Friar for the death of Romeo and Juliet, but can only label their tragedy as fate. It was fate which prevented Romeo from receiving the letter from the Friar, and it was fate that Juliet woke up after Romeo poisoned himself, and it was fate which did not allow the Friar to contact Romeo in time. All the key points which led to the death of the 'two star-crossed lovers' were controlled by fate and were inevitable, even for Friar Lawrence. In conclusion, I feel that it was fate which led to the downfall of Romeo and Juliet, and not Friar Lawrence. Despite the Friar's impetuous decisions which helped the downfall of Romeo and Juliet, if it were not fate, the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet would not exist. Stephanie Ko, F5c ...read more.

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