Homework Help

In Act 4 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, what reasons does Friar Lawrence give to Paris to...

user profile pic

lover_183 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:04 AM via web

dislike 1 like

In Act 4 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, what reasons does Friar Lawrence give to Paris to delay the marrige?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:54 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Friar Lawrence finds himself in a very difficult position in Act IV scene 1. It is essential to understand how dramatic irony works in this scene, as Friar Lawrence and the audience know what Paris is blissfully unaware of: that Juliet is already married and her grief for her cousin Tybalt is also a result of the banishment of her husband. Therefore Friar Lawrence cannot reveal this truth to Paris, and he can do nothing accept express his concern at the speed of the marriage that is being proposed. Note how he expresses this concern and does what he can to try and encourage Paris to slow the process so he can have more time to bring about Romeo's return:

You say you do not know the lady’s mind.
Uneven is the course. I like it not.
 
Friar Lawrence therefore points out the fact that Juliet has not even decided whether she wants to marry Paris or not. This, to him, makes the marriage that he is proposing risky, as he has not even received any clear indication of Juliet's thoughts and feelings on the matter. It is perhaps shocking for modern day audiences to realise that for women of Juliet's station their own opinion and thoughts about who they would marry was completely unimportant. As the daughter of a wealthy man, she was to be married to whoever her father wished. Therefore Friar Lawrence does his best to point out to Paris that the marriage is rather hasty given that he has not had a definite response from Juliet yet, but his objections are overruled.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes