Why does Friar Lawrence finally agree to marry Romeo and Juliet?

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To answer this question, take a look at act 2, scene 3. In this scene, Romeo tells Friar Lawrence that he is no longer interested in Rosaline. His new love is Juliet, and he wishes to marry her. At first, the Friar is reluctant to perform the marriage because he thinks Romeo is being hasty, but, on reflection, he decides to go ahead with it because he realizes it could have a positive effect:

For this alliance may so happy prove

To turn your households' rancor to pure love.

In other words, the Friar believes that a marriage between the Montagues and the Capulets might bring their feud to an end. To describe this feud, he uses the word "rancor" which means something bitter.

Hope is the reason that the Friar allows the marriage between Romeo and Juliet. He hopes the marriage will erase all of the bitterness and replace it with pure love.

marie1991 | Student

When Romeo first asks Friar Lawrence to marry him to Juliet, the Friar refuses because the last he heard, Romeo was in love with Rosaline. Thus he now believes Romeo is being hasty and foolish and accuses him of loving not with his heart, but with his eyes. Upon the insistence of Romeo, however, he decides to change his mind. This reversal of his reservations comes in Act 2, Scene 3:

For this alliance may so happy prove

To turn your households' rancor to pure love

The Friar believes that at this point, the only thing that could possibly end the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, the sole children of the two families. He believes that the union of the two families could turn the households' rancor, which means long-standing bitterness or resentfulness, into pure love. Friar Lawrence is hopeful, and as a trusted and respected holy man in the area, his intentions are pure. He only wants what is best for the rest of the characters.