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One can argue that Friar Lawrence was partly to blame for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. While he had the best intentions, Friar Lawrence married Romeo and Juliet in secret and led to their self-destruction.
Romeo arranges with Juliet’s nurse a pretext for Juliet visiting Friar Lawrence so that they can secretly get married.
Bid her devise some means to come to shrift
And there she shall at Friar Laurence’ cell
Be shriv'd and married. Here is for thy pains. (Act 2, Scene 4, pdf p. 54)
Since Juliet is “devising a means to come” to see Friar Lawrence, it is clear that the marriage is a secret.
The nurse agrees, and tells Juliet.
Hie you to church; I must another way,
To fetch a ladder, by the which your love(75)
Must climb a bird's nest soon when it is dark. (Act 2, Scene 5, p. 57-58)
Since Romeo has to use a ladder to sneak into Juliet’s room, clearly no one knows about the marriage.
Juliet’s parents do not know she is married, and they want her to marry Paris. Juliet does not tell them. In a juicy bit of irony, she says she hates Romeo but would rather marry him than Paris.
I pray you tell my lord and father, madam,
I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear
It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate,(125)
Rather than Paris. These are news indeed! (Act 3, Scene 5, p. 82)
Finally, at the end, Friar Lawrence reveals the truth.
Romeo, there dead, was husband to that Juliet;
And she, there dead, that Romeo's faithful wife.
I married them; and their stol'n marriage day
Was Tybalt's doomsday, whose untimely death(245)
Banish'd the new-made bridegroom from this city; (Act 5, Scene 3, p. 114)
Friar Lawrence describes the wedding day as stolen because it was a secret.
Note: I will use the enotes pdf for all quotes. You can find it here: http://www.enotes.com/romeo-and-juliet-text
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