Romeo And Juliet Friar Laurence

982 words - 4 pages

To what extent is Friar Laurence responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

The Friar is answerable for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, but only to some degree. Often, because of his involvement in the lives of the lovers, Friar Laurence can be seen as more responsible for their deaths than he actually is, although in the last scene the Friar is partially responsible for the death of Juliet. However his responsibility is mild compared to the accountability of other influences in the lovers’ lives, including friends, parents and the idea of fate or fortune. Even Romeo and Juliet themselves can be blamed to some extent for the tragedy.

Although it often appears that the ...view middle of the document...

Although he later offers his life to the Prince – “let my old life / Be sacrific’d, some hour before his time, / Unto the rigour of severest law.” (5, 3, 267-269) – he does not tell the whole truth to the Prince about what happened at the tomb. Even if he had, however, it would not have taken away his responsibility for the death of Juliet.

Friar Laurence is only partially responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet however – several other factors must also be considered, particularly the role of fate and fortune. For instance, if the Capulet’s servant had not asked Romeo to read the guest list for the feast, Romeo would not have attended, and therefore would not have been seen by Tybalt, eventually resulting in his banishment. Moreover, he would not even have met Juliet, and therefore would not have had the chance to fall in love with her. Later, there is another twist of fate when the news of Juliet’s ‘death’ reaches Romeo in Mantua but the news of the Friar’s scheme does not. This leads Romeo to the tomb, where the timing of Romeo’s death, Juliet’s waking, the Friar’s arrival and the Watch’s appearance coincide in such a way that Romeo and Juliet both commit a lonely suicide.

Nevertheless, fortune would not have had its disastrous effect if Romeo and Juliet were not impulsive people. Romeo’s decision to kill Tybalt to avenge Mercutio is what initiates the sequence that brings about their deaths; if he had not done this, he would not have been banished, Juliet’s marriage would not have been moved to an earlier date, and therefore nobody would have killed themselves to follow their love into the afterlife. Moreover, both Romeo and Juliet willingly commit suicide, and...

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