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In Romeo and Juliet, how does Friar Lawrence convince Romeo not to commit suicide?

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suhavikapoor | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 11, 2011 at 7:11 PM via web

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In Romeo and Juliet, how does Friar Lawrence convince Romeo not to commit suicide?

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

Posted May 11, 2011 at 7:54 PM (Answer #1)

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In a rather lengthy speech in Act III scene 3 of this excellent tragedy, Friar Lawrence berates Romeo for trying to kill himself, and then goes on to explain to him the many reasons he should have for being happy to prevent him from trying to do it again. Note the positive spin that Friar Lawrence gives to Romeo's otherwise desperate and bleak situation:

What, rouse thee, man! Thy Juliet is alive,

For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead.

There art thou happy. Tybalt would kill thee,

But thou slewest Tybalt. There art thou happy.

The law, that threatened death, becomes they friend

And turns it to exile. There art thou happy.

Note the way the repetition of the phrase "There art thou happy" reinforces Friar Lawrence's central message of how much Romeo has to be thankful for. These separate happinesses convert themselves, in his words, into a "pack of blessings light upon thy back." The Friar is thus able to convince Romeo to hold off from killing himself with hope in a future where they can make their marriage known and when Romeo and Juliet can finally be reunited for ever.

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