Romeo And Juliet: Who Is To Blame?
When People first read or hear about Romeo and Juliet they think that it is merely just a classic tale of romance and hardship. But when we actually look through the story we are able to see that many people are truly involved in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. For instance; their parents, for continuing the feud between both families which started for some unknown reason, Mercutio one of Romeo’s most trusted friends, for taking Romeo to the ball where he first met Juliet, and even Romeo and Juliet themselves, for being blind to their own foolish and childish actions to see what being in “love” with each other would actually do to them. Yet, the person who comes up the most when it comes to the incidents that occur in this story has to be Friar Laurence. A man who may seem like a simple Friar with nothing more than good intentions throughout the whole story, but if we take a closer look into the role that he plays we can actually see that this man may have more to do with putting the young lovers into their own demise them helping them get away from it. As we stroll along through the story we are actually able to see Friar Laurance’s mistakes slowly fold out and how he truly affected the play. For starters, he kept Romeo and Juliet’s relationship a secret from everyone and even got them married for his own reasons, and he also left Juliet alone in the Capulet’s tomb, giving her an opportunity to kill herself. He also was not able to communicate and coordinate his plan with Romeo, which was very important to the survival of their relationship and themselves later on in the play. If he had actually had coordinated with Romeo about the plan or with Friar John about when and where the letter would be delivered to Romeo, or if he had stayed with Juliet like he said he would then maybe the two lovers might have had their happily ever after.
Let’s start at the beginning of this tale where we see Friar Laurance’s first mistake. When Romeo first comes to Friar for advice after he had met with and fallen in love with Juliet at the Capulet masquerade party, the Friar tells Romeo about how he shouldn’t rush into things and think through his decision. He is shocked that Romeo has gotten over Rosaline so quickly, seeing as how he was complaining a lot about her and his love life early on in the play, but later on, Friar Laurance sees how the marriage of Romeo and Juliet will actually benefit Verona in some ways and so the next day he marries them. “Friar Lawrence: ‘Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, that thou didst love so dear, So soon forsaken? Young men’s love then lies Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes. Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine Hath washed thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline! How much salt water thrown away in waste To season love, that of it doth not taste! The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears, Thy old groans yet ringing in mine ancient ears. Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit Of an old tear that is not washed off yet. If e’er thou wast thyself, and these woes thine, Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline. And art thou changed? Pronounce this sentence then: Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.’” What the Friar could have done differently was really to talk Romeo out of making this type of decision. Friar Laurance was supposed to be the calm voice of rationalism and be the one to set things straight between the issues of Verona but in this case and many more to come, he was not doing that at all. Friar Laurence knew that their love is really just two teenagers being silly and that this likely to end just as the first one did for Romeo. Yet, he still agrees to get the two of them married in secret by the next day overlooking the fact that he knew that it would most likely end badly. And even if his intentions were good-hearted because he hoped the marriage would end the feud between the families, in reality keeping the marriage a secret only made things worse. Maybe if the young couple alongside with Friar Laurance, who is ideally an adult that they trust, had come up to them with the idea that Romeo and Juliet were in love and wanted to get married (A.K.A being open to them about the idea with their families before jumping to get married) then maybe the family feud would have stopped for the happiness of the children which would have brought a new era of peace to them and to Verona. But this sadly was not the case, instead of this much more thought out plan Friar Laurence oversees the now and looks into the far future to see what might happen when Romeo and Juliet get married. This was merely the first domino that would really test what Friar Laurance’s role is in this tale of woe.
Secondly, when we go further on in the play when it was time for Juliet to marry Paris, we see another mistake that was taken by Friar Laurance. Though, this one seems to be a much bigger one for him, even if none of the characters realized it. A few nights before Juliet was to marry Paris, Friar Laurance gave Juliet a potion, a very powerful potion. He gave her this potion with the intention to put Juliet into an extremely strong coma, so much so that it would seem like she was dead. Juliet was ready threatening to kill herself because she did not want to betray her new husband Romeo. ‘Be not so long to speak. I long to die If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.” Juliet was putting Friar under a lot of pressure to give her a solution for the terrible situation she was in. Friar must have felt that he had to think quickly and “effectively” to help Juliet, but the solution he gave her was very, ill-advised and because doesn’t promise that the potion will work as he wants it to, and sure enough, it didn’t. The Friar made a very uneducated decision when he decided to give a mentally unstable girl, (who was threatening to kill herself just a few moments before he gave her the potion) a potion so powerful it will put her in such a deep sleep it will fool everyone around her that she is dead. Even worse he didn’t even know if it would work, because the potion alone could have killed her. Juliet then shows multiple fears before she drinks the potion. She fears she will wake up too soon before Romeo can get to her, and that she’ll wake up and suffocate in the vault. She also fears that she will go “Mad” from waking up in a tomb and seeing all her dead ancestors along with her cousin Tybalt. Even though Juliet is really scared about going through with the plan, Friar Lawrence takes the risk anyway and gives her the potion anyway.
It is true that Friar Laurence has much to be blamed for, but the nurse of the Capulet household is another member of the of this abnormal tale who can be blamed for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. She was Juliet’s trusted friend. The nurse also sent letters to Romeo for Juliet. She helped Juliet when she was going to marry Romeo, but when everyone heard that Romeo was banished from Verona, the nurse really began to push Juliet into marrying Paris. Even if Juliet or the Nurse didn’t realize it, the nurse was actually going to let Juliet make a life-changing decision Juliet never wanted to take, that is a pretty harsh thing to do to someone who you consider your own daughter. Obviously, some of the blame also has to be placed onto Romeo and Juliet themselves. They were young and quite foolish. Instead of trying to figure out a way to make their relationship work, they both killed themselves. All things aside, this isn’t a very rational decision no matter who you are, or what age you are. They have to be held responsible to some extent. Going back to the fight with Tybalt we clearly see Romeo refraining himself from telling Tybalt what happened between him and Juliet because he probably knew that that might have made Tybalt even angrier than he already was and this made Romeo present himself in a terrible way ultimately leading to Tybalt’s death. Even with all this it still does not match to what Friar Laurence has pinned against him seeing is as to how he failed to be a rational adult or how he dropped the idea of Romeo being silly and moving on to quickly. There may be much to blame on other people but Friar Laurance still shows that in the “Blame Game” he still has many things to explain.
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