Romeo and Juliet

Who is most at fault for the problems that occur?

Friar Laurence

Out of all of the characters in the story, Friar Laurence has been the reason for many of the problems that occur.

Argument #1: Friar Laurence Marries Them

Friar Laurence says, "...But come, young waverer, come go with me. In one respect I'll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households' rancor to pure love" (2.4.89-92).

This is when he decides to marry Romeo and Juliet even though he knows their families hate each other. He does this hoping that maybe it could be the way to stop the fighting and start a good relationship between them. He wants to try something because nothing has been able to keep peace between them, and this might be the key. If he would have helped guide them the right way and not marry them like they demanded, it would have been better for them. Marrying them was one of the biggest mistakes in the story, because all of the other problems are caused by them trying to keep a secret and forbidden relationship.

Argument #2: Friar Laurence Doesn't Take His Own Advice

Friar Laurence tells, "These violent delights have violent ends" (2.6.9).

When he says this, he knows that something bad is bound to happen. Because it was so rushed and so forbidden, at one time there is almost a guarantee that something will go wrong. He knows this and tells them this, but yet he still go through with marrying them. He doesn't even listen to his own advice, but does what he knows is a mistake. If he did what he knew was right, and not married them, then there would not be the violence that occurs later because of their marriage. This foreshadows what the rest of the story will be like and proves why he should have kept from marrying them.

Argument #3: Friar Laurence Provides Juliet A Risky Plan

Friar Laurence explains, "...Take thou this vial, being then in bed, and this distilling liquor drink thou off; When presently through all thy veins shall run a cold and drowsy humor..." (4.1.93-96).

Friar Laurence made a plan for Juliet to get out of marrying Paris and to get to Romeo. He gives her a drug to make her seem dead, and by the time she wakes up Romeo will have rescued her from the tomb. He knows that it is a risky plan because if one step were to be missed the whole plan could fail. When he makes the plan he is not thinking about the consequences or other outcomes, but only what Juliet wants. He should be helping to guide her in the right direction, not to encourage her to run away from her life and family. But he decides to take the chance anyways, hoping that it will all come together.

Opposing View - Romeo

Many people blame Romeo for the problems in the story. They blame him because he confronted Juliet at the party and kissed her, causing them to fall in love. But the reason that he isn't at fault is because if Friar Laurence didn't stop them, instead he married them. If he would have told them no and to split apart, that might have stopped many of the problems that happen later because of their love. If he would have done what was the wiser option in the situation then they wouldn't have done some of the foolish things that caused problems later on.