Romeo and Juliet

Who is at Fault for their Death?

Capulets Vs. Montagues

In the prologue, Shakespeare talks about how two lovers will take their life and end their parent's strife. These two families are the Capulets and the Montagues. This shows that Romeo and Juliet's death is part their families fault. Their families were separating them and because they couldn't be together, it created a greater conflict which ended with their death.

Because of the family conflict, Romeo and Juliet went to Friar Laurence for advice. As a man of the church, he agreed to marry them hoping it would end the family feud. Friar Laurence, as a religious man, should have told the Capulets and Montagues that Romeo and Juliet were married, but he kept secrets and it backfired.

Friar Laurence

Friar Laurence, in many way, sets Romeo and Juliet up for failure. He is most at fault for multiple reasons. First he secretly marries Romeo and Juliet which created more conflict and tragedies throughout the story.

Romeo is banished for killing Juliet's cousin Tybalt. During this time, Juliet parent's have forced her to marry Paris. Since Juliet is already married and does not like Paris, she consults Friar Laurence for advice. He comes up with a plan which includes a sleeping potion which she takes and she appears to be dead.

Romeo hearing of her death, rushes back to Verona with a poison in hand. Upon seeing her and believing she is dead, he then takes his own life and dies. Moments later, Juliet wakes up from her deep sleep and finds Romeo dead. Juliet then takes her own life with Friar Laurence standing near by.

Friar Laurence offers advice during the tragic story, but he doesn't act to save Romeo and Juliet which would be the right thing to do. There were many opportunities in the story for Friar Laurence to expose Romeo and Juliet's love for each other and assist to bring the families together.

Opposing Veiwpoint

An opposing viewpoint of my argument is that Friar Laurence was just trying to help Romeo and Juliet by trying to stop the fighting between the families. One reason why this is wrong is that he never told the Capulets or the Montagues about their marriage. He just kept secrets the entire play.

He also tried his best to keep it a secret by coming up with a plan for Romeo and Juliet to see and communicate with each other even though they were forbidden. Although other characters contribute to the overall conflict, Friar Laurence played a part in their marriage that lead to both of their deaths because of their love for one another. In addition, he was also involved in almost all of the main events throughout Romeo and Juliet's life together. Friar Laurence is the common denominator in all the events surrounding Romeo and Juliet's tragedy.

Textual Evidence

Shakespeare writes, "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows do with their death bury their parents' strife". (Prologue)

This shows how their love creates more conflict during the story which ends with their death. Shakespeare tells us this will happen in the story.

Shakespeare writes, "I hear some noise. Lady, come from that nest Of death, contagion, and unnatural sleep: A greater power than we can contradict Hath thwarted our intents. Come, come away. Thy husband in thy bosom there lies dead; (5.3.3110-3115).

This shows that Friar Laurence isn't giving his full effort to save Juliet. She is in shock from Romeo's death, and he leaves her alone when she states that she will kill herself. Friar Laurence leaves her because he hears footsteps in the tomb when he should of stayed and comforted her and stopped her suicide.

Friar Laurence states to Juliet, "Take thou this vial, being then in bed, And this distilled liquor drink thou off; When presently through all thy veins shall run A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse (4.1.2459-2462).

Friar Laurence tells her to go into her room and take the sleeping potion. No one knows of this but him. He tries to send word to Romeo, but it never reaches him. After that, he doesn't make a good effort to tell Romeo the truth.

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