In torment, Romeo arrives at the cell of Friar Lawrence, after the Prince has pronounced banishment upon him in the third act of "Romeo and Juliet." However, the Friar reminds Romeo that the Prince could have him killed since the original punishment has been set down as death:
O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!/Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind Prince,/Taking thy part, hath rus'd aside the law/And turn'd that black word death to banishment:/This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not. (III,iii,
Then, after the Nurse departs, Friar Lawrence enumerates the three reasons that Romeo should be relieved because there is
Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy,/To comfort thee, thou thou art banished....(1) thy Juliet is alive,/For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;/there thou art happy;(2) Tybalt would kill thee,/But thou slew'st Tybalt; there art thou happy: (3) The law that threatedn'd death become thy friend/And turns it to exile; there art thou happy: A pack of blessings light upon thy back; /Happiness court thee in her best array;/But , like a misbehaved and sullen wench,/Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love.
Friar Lawrence's philosophical approach is to be optimistic about an unfortunate situation. The fact is that both Juliet and Romeo could be dead, but they are not. So, Romeo should be glad, not bemoaning his bad luck ("fortune") and not being permitted to his "love." The friar tells Romeo to go on to Mantua and he will send him word after he thinks of a solution:
Where [Mantua] thous shalt live, till we can find a time/To blaze your marriage, reconcile you friends,/Beg pardon of the Prince, and call thee back/With twenty hundred thousand time more joy/Than thou went'st forth in lamentation.
While Romeo is in exile, Friar Lawrence can work on a solution to this problem that probably most needs time. Meanwhile, Romeo can have one conjugal visit with Juliet before daybreak. He instructs the Nurse to be certain that the Capulets go to bed so Romeo can visit Juliet.
This scene presents the interplay of fate and free choice. While it is an accident of fate that Romeo slays Tybalt in his loving efforts to reconcile Tybalt's and Mercutio's anger, Friar Laurence's decisions and Romeo's reactions and choices will determine Romeo's being, as he declares in the play, "fortune's fool."