The Importance of Friar Lawrence

Friar Lawrence was important, if not the most important character in the story. He laid the entire groundwork for the tragedy which, ended with the death of 6 people. His attempts to make the marriage of Romeo and Juliet work, and to end the feud, were admirable, but poorly planned. If he hadn’t been involved in the story it is a good bet that there not have been a tragedy.

The tragedy of their deaths would not have happened if Romeo had received the message in time. Romeo didn’t receive it because of the Friar’s hurried plot to fake Juliet’s death and Friar John’s underestimation of the importance of the letter, as shown in Act 5 Scene 3 “I could not send it. Nor get a messenger to bring thee. So fearful were they of infection”. Even though the Friar tries valiantly to keep the couple together he still failed; as is shown in shown in Act 4 Scene 1 “I do spy a kind of hope, Which craves as desperate execution As that is desperate which we would prevent”.

The importance of his role is showed again in the play when he married Romeo and Juliet. The Friar is very important because had he not married Romeo and Juliet the play might not have ended in a tragedy. He believes that the marriage will end the families hate, he expresses this thought in Act 2 Scene 6 “Come, come with me, and we will make short work, For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone Till Holy Church incorporate two in one”. He tries to make the marriage work and he understands that if they rush into it there could be problems, he shows this in Act 2 Scene 3 when he tells Romeo that when people rush into things they make mistakes, “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.”

The Friars final meddling is shown in Act 4 Scene 1 which shows how dangerous the Friar’s plan is when he says “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distilled liquor drink through off” So Juliet plans to awaken to find Romeo, instead she finds him dead in the church. That causes her to kill herself with his dagger. Also the Friar did not take into account all of the things that could go wrong while she is “dead”. His role in the play is defined in Act 5 Scene 3 when he talks about how he is responsible for what happened to Romeo and Juliet, “And I here stand both to impeach and purge myself condemned and myself excused. Here he talks about the mistake he makes which lead to the deaths of the two lovers.

In the end Friar did everything he could for the couple, but to no avail. Maybe if he had more time to “work all the bugs” out of his plan it might have turned out better. If fate had better been on their side maybe it would’ve worked out, had Romeo received the letter he wouldn’t have acted so rashly. The countless mistakes made by the Friar are understandable, but lead to the tragedy. It was not just a single event that made him one of the most important characters, but all of them together, he had his hand in everything that went wrong after the marriage.