The Friendly Friar
In the drama Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Friar Lawrence is a kind, knowledgeable, peacekeeping, and wise character. He also acts as a foil to the Montaques, Capulets, and the nurse. He is a priest to both the Montaque and Capulet houses. He is a well-liked person in the town of Verona. The Friar is a positive figure in the community and serves as a good role model for the children of Verona.
Friar Lawrence is wise, educated kind, and peace loving. When Romeo comes to tell Friar Lawrence about his engagement the Friar offers many wise pieces of advice. Such as when he says that young men’s love lies in their eyes he means for Romeo to make sure he loves Juliet for who she is and not how she looks. He also tells Romeo that women may fall when there is no strength in men. This means that if he is not stable and constant Juliet may become inconstant herself. His knowledge of Greek mythology and his great understanding of plants show Friar Lawrence’s high level of education. When he is collecting plants in the beginning of scene three he speaks of the Greek god Titan. His reference to Titan shows he has had some background in mythology. Friar Lawrence also has a vast knowledge of plants and flowers. Friar Lawrence grows a magnificent garden which he tends to during the time in which he is not fulfilling his church duties. He speaks to Romeo about a plant that can be used for healing or as poison. This discussion leads into a speech by Friar Lawrence about people having a good side and a bad side like the flower he spoke of. This suggests that he has a background in philosophy. The friar is also very kind and peace loving. He is speaks to Romeo as if they are best friends and Romeo seems to really enjoy being around the friar. They laugh, joke, and discuss Romeo’s love life showing that Romeo is very comfortable around the friar. The friar is an all-around good guy.
In the drama Friar Lawrence acts as a foil to both the Capulets and the Montaques. The two houses show no signs of attempting to make peace with one another they don’t even seem to really know what their feud is about. Friar Lawrence states that he hopes the marriage of Romeo and Juliet will bring an end to their quarrel. Friar Lawrence is happy for the couple and wishes them well, he even agrees to marry them. The two families would have certainly forbid the marriage in the first place. They despise each other and letting their children get married would be the furthest thing from their minds. Every time the Capulets and the Montaques see each other their first impulse is to fight whereas the friar is trying to bring an end to all the bloodshed and turmoil by marrying Romeo and Juliet. The two houses have no regard for public safety or rules they have had three major street brawls, which resulted in injury or death for citizens of Verona. The Friar however is always trying to keep peace in the public. The two families should try to be more like the friar and settle their dispute.
Friar Lawrence also serves as a foil to the nurse she has an awful dialect, shoes no signs of high education, and does not discuss proper subjects. The nurse has a terrible dialect. She uses many words to express an idea that could be expressed in one or two. She will add or remove words as she pleases. For example she will say things like cock’rel, fall’st, or rememb’red. The friar on the other hand is very articulate. He can get his message across using few words and he speaks very eloquently. The friar obviously has a huge vocabulary. The nurse’s speech also brings up another issue her lack of education. If the nurse had any form of higher level education she would be much more concise in her speaking. The friar has obviously had some higher education because of his huge vocabulary and his vast knowledge of plants and his philosophical discussions. The nurse does not discuss subjects that would be considered proper. When she is speaking to Romeo she talks about Juliet’s large dowry. This is not something that would be discussed in fourteenth century. Friar Lawrence has never discussed anything that would be considered improper and has always seemed to have a polite manner about him. The difference between the nurse and the friar is like night and day.
Friar Lawrence is definitely educated, wise, kind, and knowledgeable. He shows it over and over again in the play. He is undoubtedly a foil to the Capulets, Montaques, and the nurse. The friar is a well-respected member of the community and a spiritual leader. He is a one-of-a-kind character and the town of Verona would indefinitely suffer without him.