Is Balthasar a good friend to Romeo?

Balthasar is not Romeo's friend, but his servant. He is, however, a faithful servant who cares for his master and tries to prevent him from coming to harm.

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Balthasar is Romeo's servant rather than his friend. Romeo does say that Balthasar can show friendship by leaving him alone in the churchyard and not enquiring further into his plans, but only after he has threatened him in graphic terms:

But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry In...

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Balthasar is Romeo's servant rather than his friend. Romeo does say that Balthasar can show friendship by leaving him alone in the churchyard and not enquiring further into his plans, but only after he has threatened him in graphic terms:

But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry
In what I further shall intend to do,
By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint
And strew this hungry churchyard with thy limbs.

Although their relationship is not an equal one, Balthasar does exhibit concern and affection for Romeo. He seems genuinely distraught when bringing Romeo news of Juliet's death. More than this, despite Romeo's threats of violence, he resolves to hide in the churchyard and do all he can to ensure that no harm comes to his master. He is, therefore, able to inform both Friar Laurence and the Prince of Romeo's movements.

One might, in a contrary spirit, construct an argument that while he is well-meaning, Balthasar exercises a malign influence over Romeo's life. If he had not told Romeo that Juliet was dead, Romeo might have remained in Mantua long enough to receive a message from the Friar. Balthasar's officiousness, therefore, causes the deaths of the two lovers. However, to apply this type of reasoning to Romeo and Juliet is to lay the groundwork for a great many accusations against Friar Laurence, Friar John, Capulet, Lady Capulet, Tybalt, Mercutio, and various other characters who might have acted differently to prevent the tragedy which, according to the prologue, was always written in the stars.

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