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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Who Was the Victim?

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Who to blame?

In the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet there are many fingers to point at who could have been the main cause of the deaths of both Romeo Montague, and Juliet Capulet. While there are many people who may have played a small role in their deaths, there is one man who can be seen as the cause for most of the events that led up to the death of the two lovers. That man is Friar Lawrence. Friar Lawrence was the main cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because throughout the story he did not act like a very holy man, but was still trusted as one by Romeo and Juliet and he failed them, also because he as a character does not have the qualities of a religious man, and leads the two lovers down the wrong path towards death by joining them in the church and marrying them. A big theme that played a role in how Friar Lawrence was depicted, was that he was not as holy as someone would think he should be, for example, he insulted Romeo when Romeo was thinking about suicide, and he tricked Lord Capulet and Count Paris by telling them he would marry Paris and Juliet, even though he knew that would not be done.

A clear example of Friar Lawrence not being a very righteous and holy man was when he presented the poison to Juliet, and told her how it could be used “Take thou this vial, being then in bed, And this distilling liquor drink thou off; when presently through all thy veins shall run A cold and drowsy humor; for no pulse Shall keep his native progress, but surcease” (Shakespeare 183). This shows the Friar’s not as holy as he should be because he gave Juliet a poison that will be used to trick everyone she knows that she is dead, and her marriage with Paris will be cancelled. This led to her being at the Capulet’s tomb and tricking Romeo that she was dead, which in turn made him kill himself, and then she kill herself.

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Friar Lawrence also was to blame for the death of Romeo and Juliet because he set them on the course to their demise. When the Friar saw Romeo really wanted to marry Juliet he married them, even though he knew it would be against the wishes of both of their families, and the two would be in great danger if their families were to ever find out, but he still does it anyways. When he marries the two he knows that it would not be the best idea to marry them, but does it because he believes there to be one good reason to do it “But come, young waverer, come, go with me. In one respect I’ll thy assistant be For this alliance may so happy prove To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” (Shakespeare 89). He believes in this one reason enough to risk two people’s lives since he knows it is illegal for Montagues and Capulets to be interacting and they may be killed for doing so. Him marrying the two even though it is the wrong thing to do shows he is not a man of the best character, and that his judgment is not right, and it was his fault that the two died because he was the one that gave them hope that they could stay married and was the one that married them in the first place, which made them want to stay together, which in turn led them to find each other dead and kill themselves. These reasons prove that Friar Lawrence was the main cause of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because he, throughout the story did not act how a holy man like himself should, but was still trusted as one by Romeo and Juliet and he failed them because of their incorrect judgment, and also because he as a character does not have the qualities of a religious man and leads the two lovers down the wrong path towards death by marrying them.

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