What inference can be made from Friar's view of men and women?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the play 'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare, the author shows us the Friar's opinions of both men and women. The Friar's opinion on gender is very interesting. Although he tries to jolly Romeo out of his wimpy self pity and he likens him to a girl with weak feminine feelings, when reality kicks in he actually demands some very brave, courageous and life-threatening decisions and actions from a female - and from a very young one at that (Juliet.) He is expecting Juliet  to drink what might be poison or drugs and to go into a deep sleep there is no guarantee she will wake up from. All this is for love of Romeo and is his way of doing 'damage-limitation' regarding Romeo. So maybe the Friar is a bit hypocritical.

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It appears to me that the Friar sees men and women in their traditional perspectives. Two places in the text particularly lead me to believe this. In Act II, scene iii, the friar notes about Romeo:

young men's love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

This is so typical of young teen boys. They are all about looks and physical attraction. So, the friar seems to have a strong handle on the reality of how men act in reference to women.

Later, the friar criticizes Romeo for crying like a girl. Girls could take this as a slam, and so should Romeo:

Art thou a man? thy form cries out thou art:
Thy tears are womanish; thy wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast:
Unseemly woman in a seeming man!

This occured in Act III, scene iii. Three times here, the friar has called Romeo a girl. This means that one can infer that the friar takes the stereotypical approach to male/female roles just like everyone else.

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