Why would Friar John be said to be to blame for Romeo and Juilet's deaths?

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Friar John could be blamed for Romeo and Juliet's deaths for the following reason. He was the man charged with carrying Friar Laurence's message to Romeo explaining the plan to reunite the two lovers. The Friar had written Romeo to inform him that Juliet, despite appearances, was not dead, but had merely taken a poison that temporarily made her appear that way. John is unable to get through to Mantua, where Romeo lived in banishment, because he was quarantined in a house due to an outbreak of plague. He returned to Laurence without delivering the letter, and couldn't even get the message back to Laurence. It seems fairly harsh to blame Friar John for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, since his failure to deliver the message was really beyond his control. But Balthasar, Romeo's servant, is unaware of the plot, and does get through to Romeo with the news that Juliet lies dead in the Capulet family crypt. Romeo, not having received the letter from Laurence, believes her to be actually dead, and goes to commit suicide by her side. When Juliet awakes to find Romeo's dead body, she kills herself. So John's failure to deliver the message has tragic consequences.

Read the study guide:
Romeo and Juliet

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question