How does Shakespeare use the friar to develop action in Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet

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Friar Laurence is the voice of reason. So far, we've seen the Capulet and Montague men fight in the streets because of an old feud; we've listened to the mindless and annoying banter of Juliet's nurse; we've watched Romeo fall in love with Juliet from across the room, then woo her on her balcony and decide before the night is through that he is madly in love with...

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tutorpeake | Student

Hi Jamie,

Any answers given regarding Shakespeare come with the advice that they are very subjective and will always contain the authors own subjectivity based upon their reading of the play. 

Friar Lawrence is the first character we see after the decision is made the marry and he opens up the very next scene. This immediately ties him into the plot intrinsically as he is the first point of contact. It is from this moment on that he holds all of the cards to the play. Only himself and the Nurse are aware of the impending nuptials and it is at this point where the plot starts to unravel. 

Friar Lawrence serves as the opinion compass if you will. He is an upstanding member of the society and as such plays the perfect role for the audience to see the play from. His first reaction  to the news of Romeo's announcement is to question how quickly he fell out of love with his previous love Rosalind. As a pragmatic modern audience we find merit in the Friar's words and begin to question the romance. As soon as the Friar reveals his plan about the wedding being a point to unite the two families, the audience is sold on the idea and lose sight of what else could possibly go wrong, there  is now a man of God with good intentions stepping in to take an adult role in what has so far been a childish whirlwind romance. 

Watching the Frjar try to orchestrate proceedings from here on in is tantamount to watching someone slowly lose their grip on a balloon and try to regain it. The steps he takes mirror the audiences reactions as he desperately tries to reconcile his own mistakes. 

I hope this helps even to the point where you can turn around and say that you totally disagree because that means you are on the right track to forming an answer to this for yourself.

Good luck :)