Romeo and Juliet is known worldwide as a tragic love story between two star-crossed lovers which ends in impulsive suicide out of pure love, but many don’t know that these deaths were purposefully orchestrated by an unmasked killer. Throughout the story the reader falls in love with Romeo and Juliet, two teens in desperate love, whose personality and choices reflect the nature of the two rivaling families. The play is filled with interesting characters who each have their own impact on the plot, but there’s one who stands out more than the others, Friar Lawrence. Friar Lawrence, known to be a holy man of God, is a dear friend of Romeo and Juliet. He has a strong influence over Romeo and Juliet. As a man of peace, he wants the two families to stop their decade long fight of hatred and violence, and the only way to stop this long-lasting feud is their children’s unfortunate suicides. Friar Lawrence deliberately plotted the deaths of Romeo and Juliet to stop the family feud. He used his parental influence to accomplish it by encouraging their impulsivity, supplying them with the resources that lead to their fate, harboring ulterior motives, and not being urgent about the situation at hand, which lead to their death.
As young teenagers Romeo and Juliet have developing brains, resulting in impulsive and quick-tempered choices. For example: Romeos sudden change in love interests, suicide, and marriage, would all be reasons why his carelessness lead to his (and many others) death. Throughout the story Friar Lawrence witnesses these reckless decisions, and instead of stopping them he chooses to encourage them and continues to hint how Romeos recklessness would be his downfall. In the text Romeo and Juliet (No fear Shakespeare) in Act 2 scene 6, on page 133 Friar Lawrence states,
“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore, love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.”
This proves how Friar Lawrence openly reveals his encouragement of the two teens impulsivity, and even hints and foreshadows his plans for their deaths. In the text ‘One Reason Teens Respond differently to the World: Immature brain circuitry’ by Sarah Sparks in paragraph 8 it states, “The scientists were looking specifically at impatience and if heightened impatience among teenagers is because of disregard for future outcomes or from oversensitivity to immediate rewards”. This proves how Friar Lawrence used Romeo and Juliet’s “disregard for future outcomes” as a manipulative way to lead to their deaths, by encouraging it through his parental influence.
Other than encouraging their impulsivity to get married Friar Lawrence also encourages Romeo and Juliet’s extreme decision to commit suicide and supplies them with the resources that lead to their demise. After Romeos banishment Juliet decides to go to Friar Lawrence with her reluctance to get married to Paris by threatening to kill herself, in which Friar feeds into by offering her a bottle of poison he brewed himself which ultimately ends to her unjust death. In the text Romeo and Juliet (No fear Shakespeare) in Act 4 scene one it states,
“Which craves as desperate an execution
As that is desperate which we would prevent.
If, rather than to marry County Paris,
Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself,
Then is it likely thou wilt undertake
A thing like death to chide away this shame”.
This shows how Friar Lawrence uses Juliet’s confession to him to further develop his plan, and further equip her with the object that lead to death. In the text Romeo and Juliet (No fear Shakespeare) in Act 5 scene 3 it states,
“Stay not to question, for the watch is coming.”
Come, go, good Juliet. I dare no longer stay”. This further shows Friar Lawrence’s involvement by the fear he expresses when he realizes the “watch” is coming and will realize he caused their deaths by giving them the weapons they committed suicide with.
Another factor of Romeo and Juliet’s death was ultimately the failed delivery of the letter from Friar Lawrence to Romeo, explaining Juliet’s not dead. If Friar Lawrence would have been more urgent with his message, the death of Romeo wouldn’t have been caused and the chain reaction wouldn’t have been put into effect. In the article (FreeBookSummary) it states, “If the Friar would have delivered the letter personally, the plan that he had in mind might have gone much sooner. Friar John shows his inadequacy in the fifth act when he says ‘Here I could not send it. Send it again.” This shows how Friar Lawrence’s actions caused Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. In the article (GraduateWay.com) it states, “Friar Lawrence is to blame for the deaths of the young lovers as he neglects the importance of the delivery of the letter to Romeo as Friar John is held up in quarantine and is unable to deliver the letter on time”. This further proves how Friar Lawrence choices to influence Romeo and Juliet’s behavior using his parental influence caused their unfortunate deaths.
People may say that since Friar Lawrence is a man of God that he wouldn’t plan out Romeo and Juliet’s deaths because that would be sinful. However, their many examples of men of God committing heinous crimes in the past and present. A good example of this is in the article (LiveScience.com) where it states, “Pope Leo X not only allowed, but encouraged worshippers to pay for their sins – literally. The corrupt religious leader was fond of putting prices on others’ sins and requiring them to give him money in return for absolving their wrongdoings. Threatening that their souls would not be able to enter heaven if they didn’t pay up, Leo X set sinner fines for crimes such as murder, incest and theft, ‘Pope Leo X: Opponent of the Reformation’ (Compass Point Books, 2006).” This shows that even holy men of God can make unjust and foul decisions. Another good example of this is stated in article (LiveScience.com) where it states, “Stephen VI set out to get revenge on his predecessor, Pope Formosus, who he felt had wronged him – in spite of the fact that his nemesis was now dead. Stephen arranged a court date and ordered Formosus’ nine-month-old corpse to be exhumed, dressed in sacred papal robes and propped up on a throne to be tried for his crimes. With a deacon answering on behalf of the deceased, Stephen raged and raved accusations of Formosus having had unfairly receiving the pope title at Formosus’ skeleton.” This further proves the past unjust things men of God have done, and shows that Friar Lawrence can’t be ruled out because of his devotion to his religion.
Even though we see Friar Lawrence continuously support Romeo and Juliet’s extreme and impulsive decisions, he also foreshadows his plans for their deaths and how their impulsivity would lead to their demise. Many of his foreshadowing goes unnoticed by the two protagonists, but through his hints he reveals his true intentions. In the text Romeo and Juliet (No fear Shakespeare) in Act 3 scene 3 it states,
“Romeo, come forth. Come forth, thou fearful man.
Affliction is enamored of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity”.
This shows how Friar Lawrence hints to his hidden motives, and how throughout the passage he reveals his intentions of using his influence to cause their deaths. Another example of this foreshadowing is in Romeo and Juliet (No fear Shakespeare) on Act two scene six it states,
“So smile the heavens upon this holy act
That after-hours with sorrow chide us not.”
This further reveals his true intentions of causing their deaths by foreshadowing the sorrows of their death that occurred after their marriage.
In conclusion, Frair Lawrence manipulated Romeo and Juliet using his parental influence to stop the raging family feud. Romeo and Juliet were led to their deaths, and their dear Frair is to blame. Even though Frair Lawrence is a holy man of God he is a killer in disguise.