Romeo tells Friar Lawrence that the priest cannot know or understand how he feels. What reasons does he give?

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two occasions in which Romeo indulges in such conversation with the friar. The first is in Act 2, scene 3, in the friar's cell, when Romeo informs him about his new found love, Juliet. The friar is surprised by Romeo's sudden turnaround, for has he not recently been complaining about his passion for Rosaline and the fact that she has ignored his advances? Friar Laurence cannot believe that the lovelorn Romeo could have, almost in an instant, fallen for another. Romeo asks the friar not to scold him:

I pray thee, chide not; she whom I love now
Doth grace for grace and love for love allow;
The other did not so.

He explains that his erstwhile love (Rosaline) did not return his affection, but that Juliet has reciprocated in kind and it is for this reason that he has become completely overwhelmed by her.

The second occasion is, again, in Friar Laurence's cell in Act 3, scene 3. Romeo is in hiding after killing Tybalt. The friar informs Romeo that the Prince's judgment against him has been to banish him from Verona. A return would mean his execution. Romeo argues that banishment is a worse punishment than death, even though the friar insists that he should be patient, for there is a greater world out there.

Romeo cannot accept this argument, for he believes he would rather die than not see his beloved Juliet. Banishment, to him, is an even greater punishment, for being alive without her will be sheer torture, every day that he is alive. Romeo is of the opinion that even carrion flies would be better off than he, since they would be able to visit her lips, sit on her hand, whilst he would not be able to even see her.

Friar Laurence tries to console him but Romeo insists that the friar would only understand if he were as young as he and had Juliet for a lover, married for but an hour. If the friar had killed Tybalt and had been banished and so completely in love as he was, only then would he be able to understand his feelings.

When Juliet's nurse arrives, the friar suggests that Romeo visit Juliet secretly that night and that he should disappear before the morning breaks. Romeo agrees. The nurse would prepare Juliet for his arrival and make sure that everyone is out of the way so that the two lovers may meet in secret.