Character Evaluation Laurence, the Friar Friar Laurence is shown as a saintly man that the other characters trust and admire. The Friar's role as Romeo and Juliet's companion and advisor underscores the play's tension between parents and their children.
Before You Continue...
Do you know what is your soul number? Take this quick quiz to find out! Get a personalized numerology report, and discover how you can unlock your fullest spiritual potential. Start the quiz now!
Is Friar Tuck in Romeo and Juliet?
In Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence has an unusual role. Throughout the play, he is a kindhearted cleric who assists Romeo and Juliet. He officiates at their wedding and offers general sound advise, particularly on the subject of moderation. In the drama, he is the only religious figure. Friar Lawrence, on the other hand, is the most scheming and political character in the play: he marries Romeo and Juliet as part of a scheme to end civil strife in Verona; he smuggles Romeo into Juliet's room and then out of Verona; and he devises a scheme to reunite Romeo and Juliet using the deceptive ruse of a sleeping potion that appears to come from almost mystic knowledge This spiritual knowledge seemed to be out of place for a Catholic friar; why does he have it, and what does it mean? The answers are ambiguous. Furthermore, while Friar Lawrence's preparations appear well-thought-out and well-intentioned, they serve as the primary mechanisms through which the play's fated tragedy unfolds. Readers should be aware that the Friar is not only subject to the play's central fate; he also plays a role in bringing it about.
What was the Friar's advice?
Friar Lawrence converses with Paris in his cell about the latter's imminent marriage to Juliet. Paris claims that Juliet's grief over Tybalt's death has rendered her unstable, and that Capulet, in his wisdom, has chosen that they should marry as soon as possible so that Juliet can stop crying and end her grieving period. The priest thinks to himself that he wishes he didn't know why Paris's marriage to Juliet has been postponed.
Juliet walks in, and Paris speaks tenderly, though a little arrogantly, to her. Juliet reacts indifferently, expressing neither affection nor disapproval. She mentions that she has not yet wedded him. Friar Lawrence hurries Paris away under the guise of having to hear Juliet's confession, but not before Paris kisses Juliet once.
Juliet approaches Friar Lawrence for assistance after Paris has left, brandishing a knife and threatening to murder herself rather than marry Paris. The friar offers a scheme: Juliet must agree to marry Paris, and then she must swallow a sleeping potion the night before the wedding to make her look to be dead. Juliet will be buried in the Capulet tomb, and the friar will inform Romeo in Mantua to assist him in retrieving her when she awakens. She will then return to Mantua with Romeo, free from their parents' enmity. Juliet is completely on board with the strategy. The sleeping potion is given to her by Friar Lawrence.
Who said you kiss by the book?
The rhyme is part of it, but this line is part of Romeo and Juliet's intricate pilgrim/saint role play metaphor during their first encounter.
Romeo kisses Juliet, who is dressed as a saint (or a statue of a saint that a pilgrim is visiting), and says, “Thus from my lips by thine my guilt is purged” (1.5.106). Because she's a saint, she's supposed to be able to forgive him of his crimes. But Juliet jokes that if she's taken his sin away from him, then his sin is now on her lips: ‘Then have my lips the sin that they have taken' (107). This is a subliminal message that Romeo should kiss her again, and he interprets it as such, ostensibly kissing her to atone for the sin he's left on her lips: ‘Sin from my lips? ‘O delightfully prompted trespass! / Return my guilt to me.' (108-9). It's a trespass because they've been cultivating the notion that kisses are sinful (at least for the duration of this role play). When Romeo adds it's'sweetly urged,' it's evident that he's taken Juliet's words as a maidenly request: she's given him a humble and suitable courtly cause to kiss her again.
Romeo's elaborate and ritualised wooing style: the poetry language, rich metaphors, and rationale for earning a kiss from her are all addressed in Juliet's ‘You kiss by th' book' (110). She's basically joking that he obtains kisses according to the instruction manual and doesn't depart from it; that his manner is ritualistic, if not courtly. She's not comparing it to anyone else's love tales or manners, but to her own. It could also be a reference to the Bible, and the fact that Romeo utilizes apparently Christian reasoning to entice her to kiss him, thus he kisses according to ‘the book.'
Why does Romeo hate his own name?
Romeo despises his own name because it is Juliet's foe. Finally, the Friar decides to marry Romeo and Juliet because he feels it will reunite the families.
Is Romeo a nobleman?
- The political ruler of Verona is Escalus (Prince). MERCUTIO and PARIS are his cousins.
- Count Paris is a Veronese nobleman and PRINCE ESCALUS' and MERCUTIO's cousin. CAPULET has chosen him to marry JULIET since he is in love with her. At the conclusion of the play, ROMEO kills him.
- Lord Montague is the head of the Montague family and a strong Verona nobleman. Romeo's father is he.
- Lord and Lady Montague have a son named Romeo Montague. Juliet Capulet is Romeo's true love, and he secretly marries her. Juliet pretends to die in order to get out of a parental marriage agreement with Count Paris. Romeo is completely unaware of the fabricated death. He kills himself because he believes Juliet is genuinely dead. In film adaptations of the play, Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonard Whiting, Douglas Booth, and Leslie Howard have all played Romeo. Romeo is also a character in the play's opera and ballet adaptations.
- Capulet is the head of the Capulet family and a powerful Veronese lord. Juliet's father is he.
- Juliet Capulet is only a teenager when she meets and falls in love with Romeo Montague, a family nemesis. They marry in secret. Juliet uses a medicine that makes her look to be dead as her parents plan for her to marry Count Paris. Her remains is laid to rest in a crypt. She comes back to life afterwards. She kills herself after she discovers Romeo has committed suicide. Juliet has been played by Claire Danes, Norma Shearer, Hailee Steinfeld, and Olivia Hussey in the movies. Opera and ballet versions of the play have been created. In the ballet adaption, Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn danced the “star-crossed lovers.”
- Friar Lawrence is an elderly clergyman who marries Romeo and Juliet in secret. It was his idea to stage Juliet's death. He's powerless to stop Romeo from killing himself.
- Juliet's Nurse is in her late twenties. She is famous for a monologue in which she recalls Juliet's childhood.
- Tybalt is a brash young man who is constantly looking for a battle. He is the cousin of Juliet Capulet. In a duel, he kills Mercutio and is later slain by Romeo. Tybalt was played by Basil Rathbone and Michael York in the 1936 and 1968 film adaptations, respectively.
- Mercutio is a young man who is Romeo's companion. When Romeo refuses to fight a family adversary in a duel, Mercutio takes his place and is killed as Romeo tries to terminate the fight. Mercutio is a chatty adolescent. The Queen Mab speech is his most famous speech.
- Apothecary is a pharmacist who sells Romeo the poison he will use to commit suicide.
- Friar John is a clergyman who belongs to the same group as FRIAR LAURENCE, whom he employs to try to communicate with ROMEO.
- Romeo has a crush on Rosaline, a beautiful and aloof woman, until he meets Juliet, his true love. But don't get too excited because we never see her, she doesn't talk, and she isn't even mentioned in the dramatis personae (the cast list). So, why are we discussing Rosaline in this “Character Analysis”? We may not hear directly from Rosaline (or even see her until we see, example, Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of the play), but one of the play's primary characters, Romeo, tells us a lot about her.
- In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the heroine Juliet's surname is capulet.
- John the Friar We don't know anything about Friar John's personality. He is certainly willing to assist Friar Lawrence, thus we could call him obedient or compassionate. He's in quarantine, so we know it wasn't due to timidity or malicious purpose that he couldn't deliver the letter. Only one thing is certain: Friar John tries to assist Friar Lawrence. He has no idea what that letter contains. We know he tries, but that is about all we know about him. From our little interaction with Friar John in the story, it's impossible to draw generalizations about his personality.
Pages, Musicians, Citizens of Verona, male and female Kinsfolk to both Houses, Masquers, Guards, Watchmen, Officers, and Attendants are among the minor characters in the script.