Friar Lawrence's Downfall

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In the play, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, the character Friar Lawrence is most responsible for the deaths of the two star-crossed lovers. His mischievous acts, including carelessness, cowardice, and incompetence, comes between Romeo and Juliet’s love for each other, and ultimately kills them.

Romeo and Juliet fall in love and quickly get married, even though their families were long time rivals. Friar Lawrence foolishly gives in to their wants, and marries them in secret, which is the beginning of their downfall. This demonstrates that Friar Lawrence was careless in his early actions. He should not have sent Friar John to deliver the letter of his plans to Romeo in Mantua. In the play, he says “I’ll send a friar with speed To
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Instead, he leaves out of fear that he will be caught and doesn’t have any thoughts of warning Romeo of the serious situation that is about to happen. He states, “I hear some noise. -- Lady, come from that nest Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep… Come, go, good Juliet [noise within], -- I dare no longer stay.” (Act 5, Scene 3). Even though Friar Lawrence is the adult in the situation, he leaves Juliet, a child, because he is afraid of getting caught in committing a “sin”.

The Friar’s incompetence leads to numerous bad decisions on his part. The most disastrous is the fact that he marries Romeo and Juliet “illegally.” In Act II, Scene VI he states, “you shall not stay alone/Till holy church incorporate two in one.” (Act 2, Scene 6). Friar Lawrence marries Romeo and Juliet causing all the problems to occur, like a domino effect. Friar Lawrence should have made an effort in using the love Romeo and Juliet had to stop the family rivalry.

In the end, the person who is most to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet is Friar Lawrence, whose carelessness, cowardice, and incompetence caused them to foolishly kill themselves. In act V, the Prince declares, “For never was a story of more woe/ Than this of Julier and her Romeo” (Act V scene

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