How does Juliet's relationship with Friar Lawrence change?Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet vist Friar Lawrence, and later when Romeo is not around, she visits the friar alone. Juliet is in love with Romeo, their families are involved in a blood feud (and so, would not approve), and her father is forcing her to marry Paris, who she does not love.) (Besides, Juliet has already married Romeo. Even had she not, Paris is a bossy, overbearing prig when dealing with her).

Friar Lawrence becomes not only her confidante and friend, but he performs her marriage to Romeo, and after Romeo is banished, Friar Lawrence comes up with a plan to help the young couple elude the social and familial restrictions placed upon them so that they may escape Verona and live "happily ever after."

The only change that occurs between Friar Lawrence and Juliet is at the end of the play. After Romeo has killed himself, believing Juliet is dead, Friar Lawrence arrives at the tomb wherein Juliet lies to be there when she awakes. He is too late to save Romeo, but tries to draw Juliet away, especially because the battle between Paris and Romeo has raised an alarm and the authorities are on their way.

The Friar's words of "escape" mean nothing to the young wife as they speak of living on without Romeo. Friar Lawrence says:

Come, come away...Come, I'll dispose of thee

Among a sisterhood of holy nuns (V, iii, 154-157)

Juliet, however, separates herself from Friar Lawrence, refusing to go with him. He flees, knowing that he is complicit in the "fraud" that has been carried out where Paris and the noble families of Capulet and Montague are concerned. Juliet remains behind; now that Romeo is dead, she has no reason to live.

Living in a convent, living without Romeo at all, is a life Juliet cannot face: as she now perceives the world around her, there is no life for her in just living. This is why she decides to remain Romeo's side. She chooses to leave the world wherein Romeo no longer lives, and stabs herself with her sweetheart's dagger.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Initially a friend to Romeo, Friar Lawrence does not meet Juliet in Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, until Romeo brings her with him on the evening that they have met and vow their love in the orchard.  Because the friar refuses to leave Romeo and Juliet until they are married, the couple allow him to perform the marriage ceremony.  When Romeo kills Tybalt in anger, he again rushes to his mentor, Friar Lawrence, who counsels him to leave Verona until everything can be worked out between the households.  However, before Romeo leaves, the priest tells him to visit his wife and bid her farewell.

After Juliet is told that she must marry Paris and the Nurse, who knows that she is married to Romeo and has consummated this marriage, as well, Juliet turns to the Friar as someone she, too, can trust.  Threatening to kill herself, Juliet is counseled by the priest, and he devises a plan in which she drinks a potion that will make her seem dead.  While she is in this state, the priest hopes that the Capulets will be so relieved when Juliet comes back to life, so to speak, that they will abandon their feud with the Montagues.  Friar Lawrence's plan here is a departure from the one he has made with Romeo, but the priest hopes to reach Romeo with a messge that Juliet is not dead.  Unfortunately, of course, there is misdirection and miscommunication.

Whether the friar does not feel obligation to Juliet, or whether he is too pusillanimous to admit his actions to the authorities, Friar Lawrence abandons Juliet after she regains consciousness, although he does try to persuade her to accompany him initially. His cowardliness outweighs his solicitousness as he eschews the guards causes Juliet to be alone to find the body of Romeo and kill herself.

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Romeo and Juliet

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