Was Friar Lawrence right for his actions in Romeo and Juliet? Why or why not?Why or Why not.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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What if Friar Laurence’s motives were not so altruistic? As the obviously spoiled son of an affluent family, is it possible that Romeo would have caused problems for Friar Laurence if he did not agree with Romeo’s wishes?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Friar Lawrence was right in the sense of trying hard to be a mentor to these two young ones, but that's as far as I'll go.  When two people seek marriage in the Catholic Church, unless there is something significantly wrong, the wish is usually granted.  Could one make a case for something significantly wrong here?  Yes, in regards to age and parental consent; however, not in regards to the love and compatibility of the two.  It's a toss-up. 

More importantly, Friar Lawrence seems to view this as more of an obsession as time goes on, producing a sort of snowball effect (similar to someone who has to continue lying to get out of his original lie).  For goodness sake, giving a young teen a potion that will make her seem dead so she will be buried!?!  This is not the action of a rational person.  By this point Friar Lawrence is guilty of the same irrational passion and desperation as the two young lovers.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I think that Friar Lawrence was correct in his efforts to help Romeo and Juliet marry. The Friar was looking at the big picture of how the marriage would help heal the rift between the two families of Verona. It was not in the least unusual in Elizabethan times for two so young to marry, so he was not violating any laws or customs in that regard. Had he respected the wishes of Juliet's father for her to marry Paris, he would have committed the greater wrong of denying the true love of Juliet for Romeo.

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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In my opinion, Friar Lawerence had good motives in doing what he was doing, but his actions themselves showed great foolishness and short-term thinking. As stated above, at first he hesitated because of Romeo's fickleness with love, and because of their age. As the story develops, and Romeo continues to push him, he changes to think that this will miraculously end all the problems between the two households- very naive thinking on his behalf. It seems like he was always just thinking about the surface value of his choices, and not truly thinking about all possible consequences.

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The answer to this question is all a matter of opinion – should Friar Lawrence have married Romeo and Juliet?  The Friar was at first opposed to the idea because of Romeo’s impetuous ways with love – he rushed in and out of love too quickly and Friar Lawrence was not sure that he truly loved Juliet.  However, he saw this marriage as an opportunity to help the two families and put an end to their constant fighting that was plaguing the streets of Verona.  Sure, the fighting caused problems and arguments but the marriage brought about the deaths of two young and innocent teenagers.  Therefore, I do not think that Friar Lawrence was right in marrying the two.  Furthermore, when the chance of further complication arose after Romeo was banished, the Friar should have taken that opportunity to come clean with the families instead of making matters worse by devising the plan that he had for Juliet.  If the Friar had thought about the possible repercussions of his actions, Romeo and Juliet would not have died.

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