Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are some important points about Friar Lawrence's speech near the end of Act IV Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?

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This speech is important because it describes the substance of Friar Lawrence's plan to reunite Juliet with her husband while averting her planned marriage to Paris. He describes the effects of the poison she will take, which will create a "borrowed likeness of shrunk death" that will continue for "two and forty hours." In other words, Juliet will appear to be dead. Her grieving family will then carry her to the Capulet crypt, where her apparently lifeless body will lie until Romeo, alerted to the plan by letters from the Friar, will meet her at her bier when she wakes up. Then Romeo will carry her to Mantua (where he has been banished for killing Tybalt) and free Juliet from "this present shame." The plot, of course, will go awry when plague keeps the friar's letters from reaching Romeo. But it is in this passage that he lays out his plan.

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