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One of the main ways that Friar Lawrence develops Romeo’s character is through providing background information regarding his recent love for Rosaline. When Romeo first sees Friar Lawrence in Act II scene iii, Friar Laurence asks, “Wast thou with Rosaline?” This simple question tells the audience that Romeo has been pining away for Rosaline very recently, which leads to us to wonder how Romeo could have fallen in love so quickly with Juliet. This question also shows the reader that Romeo and the friar have had a close relationship where they have talked of girls Romeo likes. This fact solidifies the friar’s role in the tragedy. In addition to the history of their relationship, the friar also helps to characterize Romeo as fickle when he remarks at how quickly Romeo has forgotten Rosaline. This is quite true; the instant he saw Juliet, his thoughts of Rosaline were through.
Later in the same scene:
Romeo: “Thou chidst me oft for loving Rosaline”
Friar Lawrence: “For doting, not for loving, pupil mine.”
Romeo thinks he loved Rosaline; Friar Lawrence recognizes, however, that Romeo does not fall in love, that he only thinks he is in love. This characteristic of Romeo’s is of the greatest importance because it reminds the audience that he is young and naïve.
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