What warning does Friar Laurence give Romeo foreshadowing future events of Romeo and Juliet?
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At the end of Act II, scene iii, just after he has agreed to marry Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence offers Romeo the following advice:
This line foreshadows most of the rest of the plot of the play concerning Romeo and Juliet as they each violate this advice time and time again. At almost every turn both Romeo and Juliet act impulsively without thought and risk their own lives and likely the lives of others. At the play's end, their emotional impulsivity gets the better of them when they each take their own life rather than thinking through the facts and evidence that reside in front of them. These are the tragic flaws of both Romeo and Juliet and Friar Lawrence comments on them very early in the play, foreshadowing their demise.
As Romeo and Friar Laurence wait for Juliet to arrive so the young lovers can be married, the Friar utters a blessing on the marriage, saying, "So smile the heavens upon this holy act/ That after-hours with sorrow chide us not (2.6.1-2)!" Romeo has an arrogant response to this blessing, taunting sorrow and saying he can face anything as long as he has Juliet. Once he marries Juliet, he believes everything will be all right. When he scolds Romeo for this foolishness, the Friar says, "These violent delights have violent ends (2.6.9)."
With this line, and the small speech that follows it, the Friar is warning Romeo that much damage can come from someone being too eager and too wrapped up in a good thing. He cautions Romeo to "love moderately (2.6.14)" in order to avoid any trouble. He has no idea, of course, just how important this warning is, or how completely Romeo will ignore the advice. The tragic events to follow happen as a result of the rashness and all-consuming love of both Romeo and Juliet, eventually leading to their own "violent ends". If Romeo had heeded the Friar's words and slowed down a bit, both Romeo and Juliet might have thought more clearly about their actions and found a better way to proceed.
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