In William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, most of the events that happened, led up to the death of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Many, if not all, of the characters played an ultimate role in the tragic death of the ‘star crossed lovers’, but Friar Lawrence was certainly the biggest contributor. At first glance, one may look over Friar Lawrence and dismiss him as only a minor character in this story. However, upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that Friar Lawrence played an essential role in the development of the play and is seen to be the one for moving the action along. He played the role in nearly every aspect in the tragedy, from the marriage to the plan to rescue Romeo from banishment and to prevent Juliet from marriage to Paris. Friar Lawrence made multiple mistakes in which contributed majorly to the death of the ‘star-crossed lovers’. He not only made one, but three mistakes that lead to death of Romeo and Juliet.
He married the lovers without the consent of either parents, he had the plan to use the sleeping potion so that Juliet could run off with Romeo and he failed to inform Romeo directly about that Juliet’s death was a scam. Thus Friar Lawrence bad actions, he is responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence involvement in the marriage of Romeo and Juliet caused a tragedy. He agreed to perform a secret wedding for Romeo and Juliet though he believed that the lovers were merely infatuated with each other and weren’t truly in love. A bond between them was created by Friar Lawrence through their marriage as stated, ‘For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone Till holy church incorporate two in one’ (2.6.2). By marrying the lovers, he took a step in the wrong direction, he only was thinking of how the consequences would be good.
By marrying Romeo and Juliet, he thought that it could bring the Capulet and the Montague families back together so they could make up and forget about the past; as quoted saying, ‘In one respect I’ll thy assistant be For this alliance may so happy prove, To turn your households’ rancor to pure love’ (2.3.4). When he says this, he is stating that he will assist Romeo by marring the two, because through the marriage, their families may learn to love each other; therefore ending the fight. Friar Lawrence only married the two lovers because he thought it would have a positive impact on the families’ feud. However, he should of thought about the consequences and how since the head of the families were unaware, the marriage could only have negative effects. Thus Friar Lawrence’s actions are what may have caused Romeo’s and Juliet’s death.
Friar Lawrence made a major mistake by giving Juliet a sleeping potion. He trusted Juliet, an unstable girl. This rash decision was a very poor choice on the friar’s behalf; here the Friar shows his irresponsibility by saying, ‘Thou hast the strength of will to slay thyself… take thou this vial… no warmth, no breath shall testify thou livest;’ ( 4.1.72, 93, 98) His idea for Juliet was very risky and him being an adult, he should have known better than to try that. Because of what he planned to happen, everyone thinks that Juliet was dead and shortly thereafter; she would have been buried alive. Capulet is even fooled by Friar Lawrence’s plan, when he states, “Death lies on her like an untimely frost’ ( 4.5.28)
Juliet’s father and the rest of the family believed that she was dead. If Friar Lawrence had not given Juliet the potion, she never would have been put in the position that she was in. Thus Friar John’s actions, this was one of the most important events which led to her death. Friar Lawrence had planned the fake death of Juliet, but it was faulty. He did not thoroughly think through it. He failed to inform Romeo that her death was actually fake and for him not to grieve off the thought. “I could not send it Nor get a messenger to bring thee, so fearful were they of infection’”(5.2.14-16) Friar Lawrence left Friar John with the letter to give to Romeo, but he forgot to tell him that the letter was urgent; this was Friar Lawrence’s next big mistake. The mistake of him sending someone else to do it was inexcusable; a situation as important as faking death should be dealt with personally.
If Friar Lawrence had personally given Romeo the letter, the plan might have gone smoothly. Friar John shows his incompetence when he states, ‘ I could not send it – here it is again – ‘ (5.2.14). This quote perfectly shows how Friar Lawrence made a poor decision in giving someone else the responsibility to give Romeo the letter. His actions show that he was responsible for Juliet’s death by choosing someone else to deliver it, not him personally. At that, he should of not have trusted someone as mediocre as Friar John. “The letter was not nice but full of charge, of dear import, and the neglecting it may do much danger.” (5.2.18-20.)
Friar Lawrence trusted another person at the most crucial of times and the price was paid for the actions of both Friars. Therefore, Juliet dies because Friar Lawrence did not consider thinking that something may occur. This situation could have easily been avoided if Friar Lawrence gave the letter personally to Romeo. Therefore, the Friar was responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s deaths. He largely contributed to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet by marrying them despite not getting their parents consent, giving Juliet the potion and by not informing Romeo about his plan. Friar Lawrence’s confession, added to the tragic death of the young lovers, ceased the age-old family feud between the Capulet’s and the Montague’s.