In Romeo and Juliet, when Friar Lawrence says: FRIAR LAURENCE But come, young waverer, come, go with me, In one respect I'll thy assistant be; For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your...

In Romeo and Juliet, when Friar Lawrence says:

FRIAR LAURENCE But come, young waverer, come, go with me, In one respect I'll thy assistant be; For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your households' rancour to pure love. (Act 2)

When Friar says alliance, is he talking about the marriage between Romeo and Juliet, or simply the friendship?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Act 2, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo tells Friar Laurence:

Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet;
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,
And all combin'd, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage.

The Friar is agreeing to perform this marriage mainly because the "alliance" of Romeo and Juliet should bring about an "alliance" between the feuding Montagues and Capulets. This is especially credible since Romeo is the only child of Montague and his wife, while Juliet is the only child of Capulet and his wife. The parents would conceivably have to consent to the marriage, since it had already been performed, and they would seem to have no choice but to resolve their long-standing feud. Friar Laurence is not talking about "friendship" but about performing the marriage as Romeo has requested. The word "alliance" used by Friar Laurence specifically refers to "holy marriage."

Earlier, in Act 2, Scene 3, Juliet had parted from Romeo with these words:

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

The viewer feels assured that this youthful love affair will not result in any illicit behavior between the boy and girl, especially since Juliet is so young. Shakespeare makes it plain that Juliet wants to be legally married and that Romeo is more than willing to marry her as soon as possible. That is why he goes straight to Friar Laurence in Act 2, Scene 3. 

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