Friar Lawrence is perhaps one of the most ambiguous characters in Romeo and Juliet. A quick Google search for “Friar Lawrence character analysis” would only affirm that fact. The Friar “advances the plot with his wisdom and religious powers” (Castanalysis.com), yet “he is the most scheming and political of characters in the play” (Sparknotes.com). How innocent was he in the destruction of young Montague and Capulet, and what kind of a personality did he truly have?
I believe that the Friar was a dreamer, but when his dreams plummeted, he tried his best to save himself. He thought that when the children of the feuding families were united, the fighting would cease and peace would again resume in Verona, as told in Act II, Scene III: “For this alliance may so happy prove
To turn your households’ rancour to pure love” (Shakespeare).
After refusing to wed the children due to Romeo’s recently ended infatuation with Rosaline, he agreed only after he realized that the two families might stop fighting. And when Mercutio and Tybalt were killed and the Capulets and Montagues became even more set in their ways and Romeo was banished, he realized that what he had hoped for would not happen in quite that way. Instead of giving up, he devised a complicated and intricate (and hardly foolproof) plan to reunite the young lovers, this time more for their sake than for their parents, as the plan involved the two running away together. Admittedly, one could argue that his observation to help the city as a whole was admirable. Who cared if the lovers came to resent each other, as long as the bloodshed stopped? However, when that too fell apart, so did he. A dubiously supportive character through out the play, Friar Lawrence suddenly started...
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...ame can rest on, ever. But he is definitely not entirely innocent.
Friar Lawrence is the man who helped Romeo and Juliet plan their escape to happiness, while in the end, they both ended up dead, as did various members of their families, while he survived unscathed. He may not have been the only cause of the destruction in Verona that eventually led to peace, but he was most certainly a factor.
"Character Sketch - Friar Lawrence." CASTANALYSIS. 24 Apr. 2005. Web. 30 May 2011.
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Enotes. Web. 30 May 2011.
"SparkNotes: Romeo and Juliet: Analysis of Major Characters." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 30 May 2011.
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