Secondary Characters in Romeo and Juliet

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While secondary characters are less important than the main characters of the book, they often have a noteworthy impact on the story. In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a secondary character, Friar Lawrence, plays a vital role throughout the play. The play takes place in Verona and focuses on Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers from two feuding families; the Montagues and the Capulets. The extremely violent feud between these families has been ongoing for generations, extending out to even the serving men of both houses. Romeo and Juliet must profess their love in secret because of the quarrel between their parents. This is a catalyst in triggering tragic events, consisting of the deaths of many other characters, including themselves. Friar Lawrence plays a crucial role to the action, character development, and themes of Romeo and Juliet.

Friar Lawrence plays an integral part in the action and plot of Romeo and Juliet by secretly marrying them, and giving Juliet the idea to fake her own death. Romeo and Juliet meet in the Friar’s cell for their marriage and the Friar says, “Come, come with me…For, by your leaves you shall not stay alone, Till Holy Church incorporate two in one.”(II.vi.35-37). The Friar marries the two in hopes “to turn [their] households rancor to pure love”(II.iii.99). The Friar is the binding power between Romeo and Juliet, by helping them be together. Without the Friar, Romeo and Juliet would have a difficult time trying to meet in secret with each other, but because of him, they are able to get married. Ultimately, the Friar’s wishes of ending the feud between the Montagues and Capulets are fulfilled, but the reason of their reconciliation being the death of their children. The deaths of Romeo ...

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...knife I’ll help it presently. God joined my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands.”(IV.i.53-56) Friar Lawrence’s advice to Juliet, and Juliet’s reaction enunciate the theme love as a cause of violence because her love for Romeo, and the fact that the Friar can’t stop her from marrying Paris, will lead her to the violent act of killing herself.

Friar Lawrence is obligatory to the action, character development, and themes of Romeo and Juliet. Without Friar Lawrence, the steps leading up to the tragedy at the end of the story would not have been possible, along with the strong characterization of Romeo. Lastly, through Friar Lawrence, the inevitability of fate and violence being caused by love were able to be emphasized more deeply. Although secondary characters are less important than the main characters, most of them have a strong impact on the story and its meaning.
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