Who’s to Blame for the Deaths of Star-Crossed Lovers Romeo and Juliet

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The loyal Friar Laurence, is older and more experienced in life than the young and reckless, Romeo. His age and life experiences did not prevent him from making a fatal error in judgement and being ultimately responsible for the tragic death of the play’s two main characters, Romeo and Juliet. Even though we think of the trait of impulsiveness common to that of youth, it can be a character flaw in older, more experienced and even well- intentioned people like Friar Laurence. His flawed plan to unite the families, Montague and Capulet, was filled with miscalculations and lack of foresight. If it were not for the trusted Friar Laurence’s irresponsible actions that mislead Romeo and Juliet, could they have survived to live and love another day?

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In William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, the main characters display several common traits throughout the play even though there ages, social class, and roles are all very different. One of these traits is impulsiveness. For instance, in Act I, Romeo expresses sorrow to Benvolio about his unreturned love for Rosaline, a young woman whom he barely even knows. Romeo tells Benvolio that the days are long and sad.

In reality the idea of being in love for Romeo is actually more pleasurable than the actual act of loving another like Rosaline. This is also an example of Romeo’s inexperience in love. Another example in Act I, Lord Capulet displays his own form of impulsive behavior, even though he should be older and wiser. Here the elderly Lord Capulet calls for his sword to fight younger and stronger swordsmen but Lady Capulet scolds him for his short thinking.

Again we usually think of short-sided behavior as a side effect of youth but both the families of the Capulets and Montagues, would rather continue a family feud at great cost rather than seek a long term peace that would benefit all. While Lord Capulet ultimately agrees to end any further physical feuding between the families, the old conflict still remains.Friar Laurence displays his own form of impulsive behavior by agreeing to secretly marry Romeo and Juliet as his character is introduced in Act II. even though Friar Laurence shocked by Romeo’s quick transition of “love” for Rosaline to Juliet over a mere 24 hour period, he still agrees to the marriage ceremony, naively thinking, the coupling of the two will end the long term family feud.

Although the trait of impulsiveness is common to many of the characters so is that of narcissism. In Act III we see Lady Capulet as being most guilty of that character flaw. In scene three, Lady Capulet informs Juliet of Paris’s marriage proposal, but since Juliet’s birth, Lady and Lord Capulet only saw Juliet as a wife to a wealthy man. A union with Paris will mean an improvement to the social status of Lord and Lady Capulet and an increase in their wealth.In another key character, Romeo is seen having narcissistic behavior that leads to his death. In Act IV the Apothecary sells Romeo the poison that shortly after kills him. The Apothecary should not be seen as bad man, but a poor desperate man. His poverty lead to his narcissistic act of selling the illegal, deadly poison to Romeo for some desperately needed money.

However, Friar Laurence can never be accused of being narcissistic. While all of his actions can be seen as being impulsive and lacking foresight, Friar Laurence tried to end the family feud by the union of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Laurence’s loyalty can be seen as both a trait and a flaw in this play. In Act II, Friar Laurence accepted Romeo’s pleas to marry him and Juliet. Friar Laurence later in the play provides the potion to Juliet for her to appear dead so as not to marry Paris. The plan Friar Laurence created, resulted in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. So, is it fair to say that Friar Laurence is the most guilty of all the characters of the ultimate Tragedy, when so many other characters had blood on their hands as well? While his actions were all done out of friendship, loyalty, and his own form love, they were all done due to being gullible, impulsive, inexperienced and lack of foresight.

Who’s to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet? While Friar Laurence Caution Romeo about his quick change of heart from Rosaline to Juliet, he still secretly marries them. He further seals The couple's Fate by giving Juliet the potion to fake her death to avoid her marriage to Paris. Friar Lawrence continues his foolishness by giving Friar John the note explaining to Romeo that Juliet is actually alive and well. Friar Laurence never discloses all elements of the note to Friar John there by not communicating the critical need of delivering the note to Romeo no matter what..Friar Laurence also fails to consider the long-standing plague and the possibility that Friar John may never get to his intended destination because of the quarantine in place due to the plague! While all of Friar Laurence's actions were most certainly well-intended, they were also as dramatically flawed as his character traits leading to the deaths of star-crossed lovers!    

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