While Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet remain one of the best plays written in the world of literature, many readers are torn between the characters on who to blame for the death of the love birds. However, Friar Laurance remains the main architect who contributed immensely to the tragedy since he did not only encourage but also, aided the secret relationship to blossom as he set up a futile plan. As a priest, one of the wise members of the Order of St. Francis, he was trusted by both Romeo and Juliet. This paper delves into the play highlighting how the friar is the cause of the maladies that befall the main characters and hence should be blamed.
Friar Laurance Blamed for the Deaths
Friar was regarded as a generous and wise priest, giving parental solutions and advice; both Romeo and Juliet revered him. He was always present in their lives; orchestrating a plan that led to the eventual marriage. Also, he remained a confidant and a friend who kept them together despite the rivalry during the time. However, his rash and myopic action to marry the two, and his plan to rescue Juliet from Paris led to their deaths. Moreover, Friar is most to blame since he did not inform their parents about the marriage but instead lied to everyone. Further, he provided a potion to Juliet thus leading to her death. Furthermore, he was selfish with ulterior motives for officiating their union because of political reasons- the unification of the two families, “for this alliance may …turn your households to pure love” (Shakespeare, 2016; Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 96-97). Also, his selfish nature of Lawrence led to the eventual consequences since he did not seek parental approval.
Furthermore, because of his secretive nature, many characters in the play are unaware of the unfolding scenes. Shakespeare 2016 highlights how Lady Capulet does not know that Juliet had been married and she is frustrated and vents about Romeo to her as she agrees (Act 3, Scene 5, Lines 105-107). Perhaps this shows how marriage had taken place without the knowledge of the parents since this lady is unaware that the boy, she intends to kill has secretly married Juliet.
Similarly, Lawrence is blamed for providing a plan based on lies aimed at keeping the union between the two hidden. However, instead, he should have practiced his advice as he had highlighted to Romeo earlier that virtue itself can turn to a vice wrongly exercised or misapplied (Shakespeare, 2016, Acts 2, Scene 3, Lines22). Besides, he is responsible for the demise of the two lovers since he was not a good communicator, is secretive, and is cowardly. He knew that Juliet could not die from the poison yet he did not inform her lover about it. When Romeo enters the tomb and finds the body of his wife, he assumes that she is dead and decides to take his life, “…yoke of inauspicious from the wearied flesh” (Shakespeare, 2016; Act 5, Scene 3, Lines 111-112). In addition, when he is asked about the whereabouts of the husband Juliet, he cowardly says that Paris and Romeo are dead and as such, they should leave. However, she remains adamant and unsheathes the dagger and kills herself, “O happy dagger” (Shakespeare, 2016; Act 5, Scene 3, Line 171). This results in her death as she falls on top of Romeo’s body.
In summation, Friar Laurence is solely to blame for the death of both Romeo and Juliet. Through his deceit and uncertainty, people were killed and this would have been avoided. He set up everything that became a huge mess; the secret marriage, giving poison to Juliet, and the eventual death of Romeo. Lastly, had he not orchestrated all the plans, the two love birds could have been alive.
Shakespeare, W. (2016). Romeo and Juliet. Penguin Classics.