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Friar Lawrence, a small, yet important character, is pivotal to the play's development. For example, shortly after Romeo and Juliet meet, Friar Lawrence decides to do as Romeo and Juliet wish and marry them in order to make peace between their families; "Come, come with me, and we will make short work, /for by your leaves, you shall not stay alone / Till Holy Church incorporate two in one". (II, 6, 35-37) Though the Friar has good intentions in deciding to do as Romeo pleads, the marriage only leads to complications and deceit. Another instance when Friar Lawrence is a key character is when he gives Juliet a poison that will put her into a deathlike sleep in a plan to reunite her with Romeo; "Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself, /And if thou darest, I'll give thee remedy". (IV, 1, 73, 77) Friar Lawrence's plan is clearly not well thought-out because it is much too risky and many safer plans would have had better results.
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Though Tybalt's role in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is brief, he is, in many instances, key to the story's development. The first instance in which it is clear that Tybalt is a vital character is when revenge gets the better of Romeo and, to avenge Mercutio's death, he slays Tybalt; "Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay". (III, 1, 160) The murder of Tybalt is the most pivotal scene in Shakespeare's tragedy because as Tybalt dies, all of Romeo and Juliet's plans vanish and much greater problems begin to block their love and destroy their relationship. Tybalt's importance is also exemplified through Romeo's immediate banishment from Verona as declared by the Prince; "And for that offence / Immediately we do exile him hence". (III, 1, 196-197) Being banished from Verona, though better than death, makes it very near impossible to envision a happy ending for Romeo and Juliet's relationship. To add to the complications and troubles of the young lovers, Tybalt's death invokes what appears to Lord Capulet as a nice way to cheer up his daughter, Juliet-- an immediate marriage to Paris; "These times of woe afford no times to woo-. / Madam, good night. Commend me to your / daughter". (III, 4, 8-10) With all of the troubles that are being forced upon Juliet already, trying to escape a wedding to a man that she barely knows makes everything all the more desperate. For Juliet's declination of the marriage between her and Paris does not settle well with her father and it becomes even more obvious that she has no one to help her anymore. Though somewhat indirect, Tybalt's importance to the play is undeniable.
Throughout Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, the minor characters of Friar Lawrence, the Nurse, and Tybalt are in many ways the most important characters to the development of the play. As in all great stories, each of Shakespeare's minor characters has a purpose even if it is not prominent when picturing the main idea of the play. Even if the small characters are simply used to further illustrate the main characters' personality and purpose, they are still very important to the plot. As apparent in all respectable literature, the importance of a story's characters does not depend on the amount of lines the characters have.