The play Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare. It was first introduced in the late 16th century, and the story takes place in the city of Verona. There are two feuding families, these families are supposed to hate and disrespect each other. Moreover, these families need to be strong and fearless of each other. Many innocent lives are taken away because of the hatred of the two opposing families, like the killing of Tybalt. Some citizens in Verona even tried to end the feud in many ways by joining street brawls and trying to beat the two families. One man stood out and his name is Friar Lawrence. His plan is to marry the children of these opposing families so that the families can end their feud. Although the lives of the two lovers are taken away, the hatred of these families did end because of Friar Lawrence. His attempt to help Romeo and Juliet’s relationship symbolizes the dangers of inconstant and impetuous actions, which leads to their deaths. Friar Lawrence plays many dramatic roles in the play, marring the two lovers and his plan to reunite them in the end which ultimately cost them their lives.
The ideal marriage is supposed to be between one family and another; however, people are not to marry someone from their feuding family as they are enemies. However, Romeo tells Friar Lawrence that he wishes to marry Juliet, who is in Romeo’s enemy. The Friar is wary of Romeo’s infatuation at first, but later he still agrees to marry them. The proof of his rash decision of marrying Romeo and Juliet is shown in the scene with him and Romeo discussing the marriage, saying “Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here! / Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,/ So soon forsaken?
Young men’s love then lies/ Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes,” (Romeo and Juliet II. iii. 69-72). The Friar, then knowing that Romeo does not really love Juliet says, “Oh, she knew well/ Thy love did read by rote, that could not spell. / But come, young waverer, come, go with me,/ In one respect I’ll thy assistant be,/ For this alliance may so happy prove/ To turn your households’ rancor to pure love,” (II. iii. 94-99). Friar Lawrence first sees Romeo coming into his garden all happy and excited; the Friar knows that Romeo is usually sad because his love is not returned by Rozaline, Romeo’s first love.
Romeo then says that he is in love with another women, in such a short period of time, the Friar is aware that Romeo is not really in love and it is just his eyes and not his heart that really loves Juliet. Moreover, the Friar is saying in his quote that yesterday Romeo just loved one girl and that now he loves another. The Friar, despite his disapproval of Romeo’s “love”, agrees to marry Romeo to Juliet anyway, hoping the feud between their two families, Capulet’s and Montague’s will end. The only reason he marries them is that he is hoping that the feud will end between the families.
His rash decision to marry the two lovers, even though the Friar has good intentions in deciding to do as Romeo pleads, is the first step that causes the two lovers to get closer to death because they are from feuding families as well as their marriage is a secret. Friar Lawrence is responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s death because of his dangerous plan to reunite the two. Romeo is banished from Verona because of killing Tybalt, a man from the feuding family. At that time, Juliet’s parents are planning a wedding for her to marry Paris, not knowing that she is already married to Romeo.
Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence and threatens to commit suicide if he does not find a solution, as he was the one who complicated the situation in the first place. The Friar, knowing that Juliet will commit suicide; he quickly makes an impetuous action and says: Take thou this vial [of poison… ] And this distilling liquor drink thou off … Thou shall be stark and cold, appear like death, … Thou shalt be borne to that same ancient vault of the Capulets… Shall Romeo by my letters know our drift, And hither shall he come Bear thee hence to Mantua.
And this shall free thee from his present shame. (Romeo and Juliet IV. i. 95-120) Friar Lawrence has to make this decision very quickly as Juliet would commit suicide if he did not have a plan in this very short time. In this quote the Friar is saying that Juliet should take the poison that he is given to her and pretend that she is has passed away, while everyone thinks she is dead, Romeo will then receive a letter saying that Juliet is alive. Romeo will come back to Verona and take Juliet with him where they will live happily ever after.
The Friar did not think this through for a long time and did not think of all the errors that could occur with his plan. Juliet, with no choice but to accept the Friar’s plan, “dies”; however, the Friar, in his rash planning, is unable to see any possible complications – Romeo does not receive the letter, and wrongly believes Juliet is actually dead. The Friar’s plan fails, causing Romeo to rush to Juliet and commit suicide, and Juliet, waking later, seeing Romeo dead, commits suicide as well. With the Friar’s rash and impetuous decisions, the two innocent lovers died in a tragedy.
Thus, Friar’s Lawrence’s impetuous and rash actions are very important to the story. They not only cause the chain of events that lead to the play’s resolution, but are a large part of the chain of events, which cause Romeo and Juliet’s death. If Friar Lawrence had thought more about his decisions, perhaps Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths may not have occurred. Moreover, the influences of Friar Lawrence affected characters’ development. Last but not least, the Friar, by marrying Romeo and Juliet, allows them to “develop” their characters.