Why is Friar Laurence responsible for Romeo and Juliet's deaths in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?
Friar Laurence is responsible for Romeo and Juliet's deaths because he secretly married the lovers and formulated a flawed, dangerous plan to reunite the couple in Mantua. The Montagues and Capulets are unaware of Romeo and Juliet's marriage and the young couple goes to great lengths to conceal their relationship. Friar Laurence does not take into consideration the extreme risks involved in his plan, and miscommunication leads to Romeo's suicide.
Along with Juliet's nurse, Friar Laurence indulges the adolescent whim of Romeo and Juliet to get married. The nurse is somewhat less culpable than the friar in that she simply encourages Juliet's romantic notions out of her indulgent love for Juliet, but Friar Laurence actually performs the marriage—hastily, in secret, in spite of their feuding parents' wishes, and despite his own better judgment.
FRIAR LAURENCE. So smile the heavens upon this holy act
That after-hours with sorrow chide us not! ...
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume (2.6.1-2, 9-11).
Friar Laurence has an ulterior motive for agreeing to marry Romeo and Juliet. He believes that their marriage will end the bloody feud between their families.
FRIAR LAURENCE. In one respect I'll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so...
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