In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, why does Juliet go to Friar Laurence's cell?
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In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, we actually see Juliet go to Friar Laurence's cell twice.
The first time she goes to Friar Laurence's cell is to marry Romeo. In Act 2, Romeo devises the plan that if Juliet has permission from her parents to go to Friar Laurence's cell for confession, then they can be married that morning, the morning after they meet. Nurse acts as Juliet's messenger for Romeo's plans and we see that Romeo has laid out this plan when we see Nurse say the lines:
Have you got leave to go to shrift to-day?
Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence's cell;
There stays a husband to make you a wife. (II.v.68-71)
The word "shrift" can be translated as "confession," showing us that Romeo's plan is for Juliet to meet him at Friar Laurence's cell under the guise of going to confession. We see Juliet at Friar Laurence's cell in the next scene, the scene in which Friar Laurence conducts the marriage ceremony (II.vi).
The second time Juliet goes to see Friar Laurence in his cell also concerns marriage; however, ironically, she is trying to find a way out of having to marry Paris when she is already married to Romeo. Juliet, in desperation, asks for Friar Laurence's advice, threatening suicide should he fail to be able to give her any, as we see in the lines:
If in thy wisdom thou canst give no help,
Do thou but call my resolution wise
And with this knife I'll help it presently. (IV.i.53-55)
It is in this scene that Friar Laurence devises the plan to fake Juliet's death with a potion, thereby preventing the sin of having him conduct, and having her enter, a polygamous marriage.
Juliet goes to Friar Laurence’s cell on two occasions. She first goes there in Act II, Scene 6. With the nurse’s help, Juliet has arranged to marry Romeo at Friar Laurence’s cell.
The second time Juliet visits Friar Laurence’s cell is in Act IV, Scene 1. She has learned that her father plans to marry her off to Paris on Thursday, or he will throw her out of the house. Juliet is extremely distraught by the idea of marrying Paris when her own husband, Romeo, has been banished. She seeks advice from the Friar about what to do. This is when he gives her the potion that will make it seem as if she is dead so she can avoid marrying Paris.
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