What are some decisions that Friar Laurence made in Romeo and Juliet where he relied on logic or emotion? Please include specific evidence.

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mrs-tolley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Friar Lawrence made the decision to marry Romeo and Juliet. He thought the marriage might help mend the rift between the Montague and Capulet families. In Act II scene III he says, "For this alliance may so happy prove / To turn your households' rancor to pure love." By 'alliance' he means marriage, and by 'rancor' he means bitterness. So Friar Lawrence decides to agree to the marriage in the hopes that it will help smooth out the problems between the two feuding families.

Later, when Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence feeling hopeless, Friar Lawrence's feelings of pity and sympathy lead him to decide to help Juliet fake her death. He knows it is dangerous and that she'll be frightened waking up in the family tomb, but he feels she is sincere in her desire to kill herself rather than marry Paris. In Act IV scene I, Friar Lawrence says to Juliet:

If, rather than to marry County Paris,

Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,

Then is it likely thou wilt undertake

A thing like death...

By this, Friar Lawrence means, "If you would rather kill yourself than marry Paris, then you must have the willpower to do something similar to death." This is when Friar Lawrence hatches his plan for Juliet to take a concoction that will slow her heart and breathing and make her appear dead, so her family will bury her in the Capulet family tomb and she will wake up later. Friar Lawrence's plan is to contact Romeo and have Romeo come and meet him to rescue Juliet from the tomb after she awakens, but we know that his plan does not work out when his messenger, Friar John, fails to deliver the letter to Romeo.

If you want to learn more about these two scenes, click here (Act II) and here (Act IV) to read them on eNotes along with modern translations and annotations to help you understand the Shakespearean language. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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