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Friar Lawrence Character Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 06/27/2011 10:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 57.1 
  • Words: 1068
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At first glance, one might look over the character of Friar Lawrence as a minor character. However, with further examination and deeper in to the plot, the Friar proves himself to be one of the most essential characters in the tragic lives of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, who appears at first glance to be just a plot device or at most a slightly sympathetic character, is in fact an ambiguous figure. The Friar helps Romeo and Juliet’s romance by marrying them in secret, and later providing Juliet with a drug which give her the appearance of death, and thus avoid having to marry Paris. He is not just a useful minion to their love, like the Nurse. Friar Lawrence may have his own agenda.
The gamble that Friar Lawrence is playing on Romeo and Juliet's lives is unfair, since Friar Lawrence is the confessor to the couple and the more fatherly figure to Romeo, the Friar should have discussed the complications that would arise from their marriage. He is the sole figure of religion in the play. But Friar Lawrence is also the most scheming and political of characters in the play: he marries Romeo and Juliet as part of a plan to end the civil strife in Verona, he spirits Romeo into Juliet’s room and then out of Verona, he devises the plan to reunite Romeo and Juliet through the deceptive ruse of a sleeping potion making Juliet sleep for “two and forty hours” that seems to arise from almost mystic knowledge.
Though Friar Lawrence’s plans all seem well conceived and well intentioned, they serve as the main mechanisms through which the fated tragedy of the play occurs. Readers should recognize that the Friar is not only subject to the fate that dominates the play—in many ways he brings that fate about. The Franciscan Friar is good intentioned— being his plan behind marrying Romeo and Juliet was to put an end to the bitter rivalry between the Montagues and the Capulets. As the simple kind man he is, Friar Lawrence is not afraid to take risks to make his...

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