Romeo and Juliet: Pupil essay: Youth and Age. Should Friar Lawrence and the Nurse have been more careful about the way they encouraged Romeo and Juliet’s love? To what extent does Shakespeare present them as being to blame?

9 June 2009

Youth and Age

Should Friar Lawrence and the Nurse have been more careful about the way they encouraged Romeo and Juliet’s love? To what extent does Shakespeare present them as being to blame?

Throughout the play Romeo and Juliet were aided in their love. It was according to Romeo and Juliet love at first sight and with the help of Juliet’s closet companion the nurse and Friar Lawrence it was made possible for the lovers to exchange vows and continue their relationship behind the twos houses backs. The nurse plays a role in Juliet’s life: ‘when it did taste the wormwood on the nipple’. We find out that Juliet’s and the nurse have ad a close and long term friendship with Juliet even feeding off her as a baby, this close relationship is important alter on in the play when the nurse betrays Juliet’s trust.

The Nurse was a go between the two lovers so therefore was helping and encouraging the relationship. The nurse however was very careful in her encouragement and made sure that it was as secretive as it could be ‘I am the drudge, and toil in your delight’ here the nurse feels that she is doing right by being Juliet’s messenger but as we learnt at the beginning of the play in the prologue the lovers will end in disaster. ‘a pair of star crossed lovers take their lives’ this provides dramatic irony as we are aware that once they in love it will end in disaster.

Friar Lawrence plays a very important role in the play between Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare has presented Friar Lawrence much to blame for the horrific ending of their lives. Not only was Friar Lawrence the brains behind the plan of getting them together after his banishment he was also the man who agreed to the marriage in the first place. ‘For doting, not loving, pupil mine’ Romeo holds a lot of respect for Friar Lawrence and he is a father figure towards him in the play. Friar Lawrence’s opinions therefore are considered by Romeo so therefore he should have been more careful in his decisions of marriage. Before agreeing to marry them both Lawrence had his suspicions that Romeo did not love Rosaline it was just lust, he therefore thought that this was the same case with Juliet. Shakespeare holds him to blame by allowing him to marry Juliet which causes all the problems and betrayal by easily believing that he loves Juliet. ‘to turn your households rancour to pure love’ here the Friar Lawrence thinks it’s a good idea to marry them because it will turn their hate between the houses into love. This shows that the Friar Lawrence is marrying them for the wrong reasons as we all ready know that this is true but will also have a lot of pain and suffering and death before the peace between he houses. The Friar Lawrence was encouraging them for the wrong reasons and not thinking about the consequences of their marriage.

‘Come, go good Juliet, I dare no longer stay’

Friar Lawrence leaves Juliet in the tomb and does not want to stay. This shows that Friar Lawrence is not prepared not to pay the consequences and own up to his encouragement and involvement between he two. After his plan fails to work as the letter was not received due to it being kept in a plague house. Romeo therefore believes Juliet is dead and takes his own life without acknowledging Friar and Juliet’s plan. Friar would be les to blame of he did not leave Juliet in the tomb as he should have been aware that Juliet was prepared to take he own life.

This is a convincing, thoughtful essay which could have a much improved conclusion where Shakespeare’s purposes are explored in more detail. Unfortunately, you do not deal with the second part of the question in depth and you really need to discuss your quotation in more depth, integrating your comments more into the body of the essay.

By Jessica Bryan

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