In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, is Friar Lawrence wise to agree to marry Romeo and Juliet? 

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Heather Garey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is an interesting question! Certainly, arguments could be made for either side—that Friar Lawrence was wise to marry Romeo and Juliet or that he was unwise to do so. Shakespeare utilizes dramatic irony to make the reader privy to a lot of information that Friar Lawrence did not have, such as the Paris's desire to marry Juliet.

I believe that Friar Lawrence thought his decision was wise, but in my opinion, it was extremely unwise for several reasons.

The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is set in the Elizabethan era, and there were specific customs regarding marriages in this period in history. Arranged...

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mastaak | Student

I think regardless of the outcome, yes Friar Lawrence was wise to unite Romeo and Juliet. As we learn throughout most of the play, the relationship between the Capulets and the Montagues was destructive and violent to say the least. These strong withstanding emotions had created such rifts between the two families that it was hard to trace back to exactly what it was that tore them apart. As a citizen of Verona and a keeper of the peace, Friar Lawrence was only seeking peace within the city. He saw their union as a peaceful, loving, and positive way to bring these families together and end the feud within the city. While I'm sure the Friar had some serious reservations about their marriage, his wisdom and firm belief of the pros outweighing the cons made it a good decision. Overall, I believe that this choice was wise and well-thought out, if not totally unmarred.