What is the attitude of Friar Laurence toward the lovers' insistence that he marry them without delay in act 1, scene 4?

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In the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, the author shows us how one character, the Friar, tries to intervene (some would say meddle) in a family feud. Some critics go even further and suggest that Friar Laurence is partly responsible for the terrible tragedy of the deaths of the two young sweethearts. Certainly it seems as if he is trying to use the young people. In one way he is shown as trying to help them (as he knows they are impatient and might commit sinful wrongdoing out of wedlock) by confirming their love as a sacrament. Yet he is also very naive. He seems to believe that this match will make hundreds of years of warlike bickering alright. Shakespeare shows that life is never so simple and hatred can be entrenched.

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Friar Lawrence has mixed feelings about marrying Romeo and Juliet from the very first time that Romeo begs for his help. Because Friar Lawrence knows Romeo well, he knows that he is prone to move too quickly and jump into things without looking. This concerns him and Friar Lawrence is reluctant to marry Romeo and Juliet for this reason. However, he also understands that the marriage may help in ending the feud between the Montagues and Capulets are spare Verona from any more of the fighting.

There is reference to this idea within Act I, scene iv as Romeo and Juliet do not even meet until scene v of this act. However, the clearest statement of Friar Lawrence's attitude toward the marriage (and also a great line to summarize the moral of the entire play) is the very last line of Act II, scene iii, when Friar Lawrence says, "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast."


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There are a couple of places where Friar Lawrence gives his opinion on this.  Neither of them is in Act I, Scene 4, though.  The two places are Act II, Scene 3 and Act II, Scene 6.

Basically, Friar Lawrence thinks that they are really rushing things.  He thinks that there is no reason for them to be hurrying so much.

But eventually, he decides that it makes sense to marry them even though he's not so sure about it.  He thinks that by marrying them he might be able to get their families to stop hating each other.  He says (Act II, Scene 3):

In one respect I'll thy assistant be;
For this alliance may so happy prove,
To turn your households' rancour to pure love.

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