A Comparison: Friar Lawrence vs the Nurse

A Comparison: Friar Lawrence VS The Nurse Thesis: Both Friar Lawrence and The Nurse are loyal to Romeo and Juliet (respectively), they have defended, protected and have helped upkeep their well being, but do not always make decisions in their best interests, which in fact lead to both of their demises. In Romeo and Juliet, a story where two lovers are destined to be together, but their heritage prevents them, Friar Lawrence and The Nurse are similar to fathers and mothers, wise guardians, trusted companions to these two. Or are they reckless, hasty, and thoughtless?

They have spent their lives with Romeo and Juliet, watching them grow and guiding them along their paths of life. But now they allow these “star-crossed lovers” to marry, though they know nothing of the other but a few whispered words. Are these sages to be admired and sought after, or fools at which to scoff and avoid? The Friar assumes a very opaque character, in a sense that his objectives are not always very clear to both the reader and the other characters, but in these cases his purposes are pure, to provide the best advice to Romeo.

When The Friar questions Romeo’s judgment when he shares with him that he has so quickly given up thought on Rosaline and moved on to Juliet, Lawrence tells Romeo that he isn’t thinking right and that he needs to reconsider. Although this does come across as blunt, he only wants what is best for Romeo, yet he still agrees to wed them and is important because it demonstrates that The Friar has respectable intentions (Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 69-83).

And when Romeo states that he would rather die than be banished and forced to live without Juliet, Friar advises him to not kill himself, which is very noble and is significant because shows that Romeo’s life is of some importance to him (Act 3, Scene 3, Lines 8-84). The Nurse finds herself acting as an advisor, a faithful servant, and as a parent like figure, but without the stern qualities towards Juliet and others. When The Nurse delivers a ring sent from Juliet to Romeo, and most importantly, reminds Romeo that Juliet still loves him and that he should ot give up hope, even though he had been banished. This proves that The Nurse does not have any pre judgmental thoughts about Romeo, that she believes in him, and is substantial because it solidifies that she is kind not only just to Juliet (Act 3, Scene 3, line 85-173). The Friar actually accompanies her in this scene, acting out the same behavior, attempting to keep Romeo from slipping into a deep depression at the thought of never seeing Juliet again.

And When The Nurse is commanded by Lord Capulet to bring forth the news to Juliet that she must marry Paris, though reluctant as she is, she agrees that marrying Paris would be in her best interests, and The Nurse tells Juliet what she must do which is critical because it validates that The Nurse will do anything to keep Juliet from harm even if she does not like it. Although marrying Paris is not something Juliet wants to do, The Nurse knows that that is what is best for her, and Juliet lies and tells her that she will marry him (Act 3, Scene 5, Lines 176-246).

The Nurse, a woman who is supposed to help guide Juliet on the right path, yet mistakenly confuses Juliet’s needs with her father’s wants. Although the Nurse does not realize it, the attempt at provoking Juliet to marry Paris could have further convinced Juliet that she did not want to live with her family any longer, and ask Friar Lawrence for help, which is important because this resulted in her death (Act 3, Scene 5, Lines 176-246).

And when Friar Lawrence recites and recognizes all who are dead in a quite hurried and distasteful manner, although he does imply that he grieves over all of the life lost, it is to be noted with significance because he does not recognize that he is somewhat responsible for their deaths (Act 5, Scene 3, Lines 238). Although Friar Lawrence had a strong positive influential role in how Romeo and Juliet came together, he also made crucial mistakes that in their absence could have resulted in Romeo and Juliet being alive.

When Friar devises a plan to give Juliet a potion that makes her appear dead while she remains in a deep slumber, so that she can avoid marring Paris and escape off to Romeo. Besides the many chances where this plan could have failed, it was hastily conceived, and should have been given more time to be thought out, which is important because it proves that in critical moments, The Friar can become hasty and his ethical thought process can be clouded by the pressure of the moment (Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 181-185).

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