How has Shakespeare previously established Friar Laurence's ability to provide a sleeping potion in Romeo and Juliet?How has it been established before Act 4 Sc 1? 

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the audience is first introduced to the Friar, he is discussing plant life, chemistry and biology as one educated in science. He says, "Within this infant rind of this small flower/Poison hath residence, and medicine power; (II.iii.23-24). This line is in the middle of his exposition of the composition and qualities of herbs and plants. And, as he applies the physical and scientific qualities of plants to spiritual matters, he clearly shows that he can cleverly construct an analogy that applies to the story at hand. Friar Laurence is the perfect character to be the expert in all things because clergy were one class who had access to the best education of Shakespeare's time. Hence, Friar Laurence proves his authority on the subject of chemistry in Act II, scene 3. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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