Romeo And Juliet Essay, Research Paper
Holy Saint Francis! What a change is here!
Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes?(II, III)
This is only some of the wisdom spoken by Friar Laurence to young Romeo in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the decision made by him to wed thirteen year old Juliet in such hastiness. Romeo sought after the confidence of Friar Laurence when he first met Juliet as there was no one else he could turn to, especially when the couple decided they were going to be married. There are many are many instances in the play that indicate “Friar Laurence always intended the best for Romeo and Juliet.” That is, no matter the tragic outcome of the play, Friar Laurence’s only intention was for the marriage of Romeo and Juliet to be happy, everlasting and for it to bring peace to the civil feud between the families.
Although he is not seen very much during the play, Friar Laurence’s role is a highly important one. In Romeo and Juliet there are three main events, the marriage, the plan and the death, that relate to him. One of the most true and sensible things told to Romeo by the Friar, was a forewarning to the hastiness of the wedding;
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumphs die, like fire and powder
Which as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in its own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite
Therefor love moderately, long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow. (II, VI)
These words aimed directly at Romeo mean that with the metaphor “The sweetest honey/Is loathsome in its own deliciousness” is that something so sweet can become sickly and you could quickly lose your appetite for it. Initially the Friar is trying to convince Romeo that Juliet would be something he would grow out of ie. like his love for Rosaline. In the last two lines of the quote, the Friar is trying to convince Romeo that nothing as important as love and marriage should not be jumped into when it could be done just as slow to be confident that the right decision is made leaving no room for regrets. After conversing with Romeo of the importance of marriage, the Friar was given a short time to think and finally realises how much Romeo really cares about Juliet and gives his consent to marry them. He also thought of what could come from the marriage, and recognises that good could come from the only heirs to the Montague and Capulet’s fortune being united in marriage, hopefully then the families would unite in peace.
The ongoing feud between the Montagues and Capulets is one of the key events of the play, for if there was no rivalry between the two houses Romeo and Juliet would have no reason to hide their love for each other. This is one time where Friar Laurence demonstrates his selfless motivations by marrying Juliet and her Romeo as without consent of the parents a marriage is not usually allowed to take place. These are Friar Laurence’s words to Romeo which show him risking his position in the Verona society as a highly regarded priest when he agrees to marry the couple;
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)
Not only did the Friar wed the couple and constantly support them by acting out their wishes continuously, there is an example of this when Romeo is banished and the Friar tells Romeo to go to his bride and spend their wedding night together and he sort out for Romeo, the banishment ordeal and organise a place for him to stay in Mantua while the Friar continues his plea for Romeo banishment to be revoked;
Ascend to her, hence comfort her.
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua.
Where thou shalt live till we can find a time
To blaze your marriage, reconcile you friends,
Beg pardon of the Prince, and call thee back (III, III)
No matter what Friar Laurence suggested or tried to accomplish, the audience knew it was never meant to be as fate always managed to intercede. The play seems to be anchored around the fact that Fate causes the occurrence which seem to be insignificant at the time but turn out to be pungent events. These are events such as the plague stopping Friar John reaching Romeo and giving him the letter entailing Juliets fake death and the entire plan. The quarrel between Mercutio and Tybalt which is a direct result of Romeo not going home the night of the ball to receive the challenge from Tybalt who then killed Mercutio driving Romeo to such a fierce anger forcing him to kill Tybalt, hence being banished. The main problem associated to each event is that Friar Laurence did not consider the wider implications of his plan, meaning he did not think about “What if the letter did not reach Romeo?”, “Is this potion particularly safe that Juliet will drink? Or even “Will the outcome of the marriage end completely different, such as the Montagues and Capulet’s not see the bright side to the marriage? etc.
It can be interpreted that it was Fate’s purpose to intervene with the plans fashioned by Friar Laurence in order to bring a halt to the civil rivalry and animosity between the Montagues and the Capulets. We all now know of the help Friar Laurence provided Romeo with but have not yet discussed how he helped Juliet. Tuesday morning after Juliet was told she was to marry Paris and fought with her father she lied and told him she was sorry and was off to confess her sins to Friar Laurence. When she reached the cell, she found the Friar speaking to none other than Paris for whom she despises but does not show her anger until she is inside the Friars closed cell;
Tell me not, friar, that thou hearest of this,
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it.
If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help,
?Could to no issue of true honour bring.
But not so long to speak. I long to die
If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy. (IV,I)
The Friar then gives Juliet the potion which “Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death/And in this borrowed likeness of shrunk death/Thou shalt continue for two and forty hours (IV,I).” This is the potion that will send Juliet to a death like sleep and leaving her only to await for her Romeo.
After reviewing the above information it was seen that “Friar Laurence always intended the best for Romeo and Juliet.” After his many attempts for their marriage, dealing with Juliets rashness and Romeos banishment, their reconciliation and Juliets false death and his endeavours to get the real news to Romeo, fate was destined to intercede. The following exert was spoken by an off screen narrator to leave the audience with this final thought
A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun for sorrow will not show his head,
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.