Friar Laurence

People should support what they believe is right.

Romeo and Juliet is a play that tells the story of two star-crossed lovers; their lives complicated by family feud. A common theme from this play is that people should support what they believe is right. The character Friar Laurence supports this theme by having strong opinions and acting on them, regardless of consequences or who is involved.

Act 2, Scene 3

When Romeo informs Friar Laurence, his confidant, of his new-found love for Juliet, Friar Laurence agrees to help him in his pursuit of her. In the play, Friar Laurence says "In one respect I'll thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove to turn your households' rancor to pure love." (pg. 1031, l. 98-100) He believes that through helping Romeo, he will also help to end the conflict between Romeo and Juliet's families. Though the relationship between Romeo and Juliet was not considered socially acceptable at the time, Friar Laurence assisted because he believed it would do good for both families.
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Act 3, Scene 3

After murdering Tybalt, Romeo fled to Friar Laurence to discuss what to do about his banishment. Romeo is upset that he has to leave Verona and Juliet, and says that it was a crueler punishment than death. In response, Friar Laurence says "Oh deadly sin! Oh rude unthankfulness.... This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not." (pg.1056, l. 27-31) Though Friar is usually supportive of Romeo, he believes Romeo should be grateful his punishment was not more and he voices this opinion clearly to him.

The punishment for crime today is dealt in a way similar to how Romeo's was; circumstances are taken into consideration to either add to, remove, or keep the same the amount of punishment.

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Act 4, Scene 1

Shortly after Romeo's banishment, Juliet learns she will be marrying Paris. She visits Friar Laurence in hopes he can find a way to prevent her from marrying Paris. Upon telling him of her problem, he empathizes with her pain by saying "Ah, Juliet, I already know thy grief; it strains me past the compass of my wits." (pg. 1073, l. 53-54) Friar Laurence gives Juliet a potion that will put her in a death-like state. Friar's plan is that Juliet's family will believe she is dead, and take her to the family tomb; where Romeo will later come to take her away. Though it is dangerous, Friar Laurence allows Juliet to take the potion because he also believes the marriage is unfair and that she should be with Romeo.
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Act 5, Scene 3

To inform Romeo of Friar Laurence's plan, Friar John was asked to deliver a letter to Romeo. He was unable to deliver the letter due to a quarantine, and upon informing Friar Laurence of this, Friar Laurence says "The letter was not nice, but full of charge, of dear import..." (pg. 1090, l. 19-20) Though it was hard to tell Romeo of the harsh news, Friar Laurence believed it to be necessary. It would have been easier for the Friar to forget about Romeo, and not put in the effort to attempt to have the letter delivered, but he wanted to continue to help Romeo and Juliet though it had become difficult and complicated.
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