Study Guide

Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet

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Friar Laurence

(Click the character infographic to download.)

A mentor to both Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence constantly advises them to act with more caution and moderation, even though he doesn't wait too long before agreeing to marry off these two crazy kids. In the 1968 Zeffirelli film version, the Friar tells Romeo, "Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast"—and then trips over his feet immediately afterwards (2.3.101). It does seem like the Friar might be running a little too fast in his haste to use these teenagers to patch up a hopeless family feud.

And when those plans end in tragedy, we're not sure if she should blame him or not. He's the guy, after all, who gives Juliet the concoction that puts her in a deep, deep, slumber that fools her family (and Romeo) into thinking she's dead. But notice that he does achieve his goal, even if it wasn't quite in the way he intended—unless, that is, you think he somehow planned this tragedy all along.

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