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What role does Friar Lawrence play in the tragedy of the lovers and how responsible is he for their death?

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Introduction

What role does Friar Lawrence play in the tragedy of the lovers and how responsible is he for their death? "Romeo and Juliet" is one of Shakespeare's tragedies, which tells the story of two lovers who belong to two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo is a Montague who is in love with Rosaline. He finds out that the Capulets are having a feast and Rosaline will be there. Romeo goes, and meets Juliet. Little does he know that Juliet's father wants her to marry Paris. Juliet is against this, and the next day, Romeo asks Friar Lawrence to marry him and Juliet in secret. The nurse then passes the message on to Juliet and tells her that the wedding is arranged for two o'clock. They get married in the chapel, and Romeo sees the Capulets in the street. Tybalt kills Mercutio, Romeo's best friend, so Romeo kills Tybalt. Romeo is banished to Mantua. Romeo would rather die than be banished because he will have to be away from Juliet. Paris then asks Juliet's father if he can marry his daughter. Juliet and Romeo have their last night together. In the morning, Juliet finds out she has to marry Paris. Juliet asks Friar Lawrence for help because everyone else has let her down. ...read more.

Middle

If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help, Do thou but call my resolution wise, And with this knife I'll help it presently. God joined my heart and Romeo's, thou our hands; And ere this hand, by thee to Romeo's sealed." This tells us that if Friar Lawrence does not help her, she will kill herself, because she doesn't want to marry Paris, and she's already married to Romeo. Friar Lawrence gives Juliet poison and tells her that it will make her unconscious for forty-eight hours. She will look dead, and be taken to the tomb where the dead people are. He promises Juliet that Romeo will be there when she awakes. The Friar also promises to keep Romeo informed of what happens in Verona. But, when he sends a message to Romeo, telling him that Juliet is going to fake her death, the message doesn't get there. At the time, there was a plague and there would have been soldiers guarding the borders of Verona, not letting any messengers through incase they carried the plague. Therefore, the message saying that Juliet had faked her death didn't get through to Romeo. However, the message saying that Juliet had died got through. I think this was just bad luck because Friar Lawrence was a holyman and would not have wanted any harm to come to anyone. ...read more.

Conclusion

They agree. I think that now, the Friar is feeling better, because he knows that he has caused trouble but it was for the best. He has united two feuding families, so he feels comforted. I think the Friar Lawrence is responsible for the deaths of the lovers in a way, because he was very irresponsible for marrying Juliet without her father knowing. However, he thought that if he married the couple, their families would unite through love because they would realise that they should be happy because their children were, and they were now related. Instead, they became united through death. I think Friar Lawrence acted in good faith because if he hadn't have helped Juliet there and then, she would have killed herself. He was not to know that she would die in the end. I think in a way, Shakespeare wanted us to feel sorry for the Friar. Although he gave Juliet the potion, he was not responsible for everything that happened. I think he is a good man, because in the end, he made the two feuding families see how stupid they were being and united them. I think the Friar Lawrence had a very important part to play in the tragedy, and its only at the end that you find out what an honest, courageous man he is. By Leanne Le Poidevin ...read more.

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