Friar Laurence

Friar Lawrence

Friar Laurence (or Friar Lawrence) is a character in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.

Role in the play

Friar Laurence plays the part of an advisor to Romeo, along with aiding in major plot developments.

Alone, the innocent Friar gives us foreshadowing with his soliloquy about plants and their similarities to humans. When Romeo requests that the Friar marry him to Juliet, he is shocked, because only days before, Romeo had been infatuated with Rosaline, a woman who did not return his love. Nevertheless, Friar Laurence decides to marry Romeo and Juliet in the attempt to end the civil feud between the Capulets and the Montagues.

When Romeo is banished and flees to Mantua for murdering Tybalt (who had previously murdered Mercutio), he tries to help the two lovers get back together using a death-emulating potion to fake Juliet's death. The friar's letter to Romeo does not reach him because the people of Mantua suspects the messenger came from a house where the plague reigns, and the Friar is unable to arrive at the Capulet's monument in time. Romeo kills Count Paris, who he finds weeping near Juliet's corpse, then commits suicide, by drinking poison that he bought from an impoverished apothecary, over what he thinks is Juliet's dead body. Friar Laurence arrives just as Juliet awakes from her chemically-induced slumber. He urges Juliet not to be rash, and to join a society of nuns, but he hears a noise from outside and then flees from the tomb. Juliet then kills herself with Romeo's dagger, completing the tragedy. The Friar is forced to return to the tomb, where he recounts the entire story to Prince Escalus, and all the Montagues and Capulets. As he finishes, the prince proclaims, "We have still known thee for a holy man."

References

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