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How are Friar Lawrence and the Nurse different?I need a personality trait of Friar...

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dalen | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:03 AM via web

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How are Friar Lawrence and the Nurse different?

I need a personality trait of Friar Lawrence that contrasts with a trait of the Nurse.

The Friar is knowledgeable about the earth/herbs. Is the Nurse ignorant?

What other contrasting personality/character traits do these two characters have?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:08 AM (Answer #1)

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To me, what is really different about these two is that she is really quite crude and he, as a priest, is much more proper.  The nurse makes all sorts of sexual jokes and references when she is talking to Juliet and her mom.  She teases Juliet about what she and Romeo are going to do after they're married, stuff like that.  The Friar, of course, does not do anything like that.

I'd say the Friar ends up being more of a rebel too.  He tries to get around what the families want by marrying Romeo and Juliet.  By contrast, the nurse wants Juliet to go ahead and marry Paris and just do what her parents say (after Romeo is banished).

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:31 AM (Answer #2)

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In Romeo and Juliet, both the Nurse and Friar Lawrence are stock characters.  Both are Aides and Surrogate Parents who help their respective children.  Friar Lawrence is a magical or Supernatural Aide, while the Nurse is a Buffoon, comic relief, a baudy low-comedy stock character who lightens the tragic mood.

Both characters are naive, as naive as the two young lovers.  In fact, Friar Lawrence really messes things up for them both, so maybe he's not so good at being a surrogate father (that's why he's a priest).  So, I wouldn't necessarily call him knowledgeable.  He's rather irresponsible.

The Nurse is not ignorant.  I think she's funny and sweet.  But, after Romeo kills Tybalt, she betrays Juliet.  She says Juliet should marry Paris, even after she's already married to Romeo.  What's that all about?  In this way, she's not as faithful to her surrogate daughter as Friar Lawrence is to Romeo.  At least Friar Lawrence is committed to really messing things up.  The Nurse bails on Juliet about half-way through the play.

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