Adult Interference In Romeo And Juliet


Romeo and Juliet both have blind love and trust for each other and for their confidants. While I believe that Romeo and Juliet's fate, youth, and inexperience played a role in their deaths, I think it is adult interference, specifically by Friar Laurence and the Nurse, that is to blame for Romeo and Juliet’s demise. Friar Laurence acts as a confidant and role model for Romeo, while the Nurse is a motherly figure in Juliet’s life. Both characters work to protect Romeo and Juliet and despite the fact that they never meet over the course of the play, their separate security over Romeo and Juliet individually causes a great deal of chaos and inevitably leads to their death.

Friar Laurence, a Catholic friar living in Verona, plays a major role in the fate of Romeo and Juliet, and both of their lives. Romeo continuously looks up to and confides in the friar for just about everything, throughout the play. We first see their bond towards the beginning of the play when Romeo asks the friar to officiate the wedding between him and Juliet. The friar is initially uncertain if this is a smart idea, given that he had only met Juliet the night before and that it would create conflict between their houses. Romeo pleads with him until he gives in and agrees to marry them in secret. He says, “For this alliance may so happy prove / To turn your households’ rancor to pure love.” (2.3.91-92). The friar hopes this marriage will turn the hatred between the two families into love. After Romeo and Juliet are married, Tybalt challenges Romeo to a street fight, where Tybalt dies. Romeo is later expelled from Verona. Following Romeo's exit, the Capulets inform Juliet that she must marry Paris immediately, which she refuses to do since she is already secretly married to Romeo. In an effort to help her, the friar devises a plan for Juliet to drink a potion in order to fake her death.  She would then flee to Mantua with Romeo. This intricate plan requires perfection and cooperation from all those involved. The first part of the plan is a success, Juliet takes the potion and is pronounced “dead”. When Romeo, who had no prior knowledge of the plan, is informed of her “death”, he immediately returns to Verona and commits suicide, after saying “And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars / From this world-wearied flesh.” (5.3.111-112). He is expressing his desire to be free of the burden that fate has imposed on him.  Juliet later wakes up to find Romeo dead and then commits suicide as well. Friar Laurence's shaky and imperfect plan, along with the miscommunication with Romeo, resulted in both Romeo and Juliet's deaths.

The Nurse, a servant and personal guardian to Juliet, also plays a major role in Romeo and Juliet’s fate. From the very start of the play, we see that the Nurse is trusted by both Juliet and the rest of the Capulet family. We also see how much influence she has on Juliet’s life. She acts as a motherly figure and is the one with whom Juliet shares everything. After Romeo and Juliet first meet at the Capulet’s party, the Nurse is the one to tell Juliet of their rivalry. She says “His name is Romeo, and a Montague, / The only son of your great enemy.” (1.5.134-135). Once Romeo and Juliet's relationship is established, the Nurse acts as a messenger between them, arranging their meetups and their marriage. The Nurse initially supports the marriage and keeps it a secret from her superiors in order to remain faithful to Juliet. The real trouble the Nurse causes begins when she tells Juliet that she thinks it would be better if she were to marry Paris by saying “I think it best you married with the County. / O, he’s a lovely gentleman! / Romeo’s a dishclout to him.” (3.5.218-220). Juliet is angry and feels utterly betrayed after hearing this from the one person in her life that she trusts and looks up to. Juliet storms off to Friar Laurence's cell, begging him to help her in escaping her marriage to Paris. This breach of trust that the Nurse caused between her and Juliet helped to move along Friar Laurence’s plan, which led to Romeo and Juliet’s mortality.

In summary,  Friar Laurence and the Nurse were mainly responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s death. The friar devised an imperfect plan riddled with miscommunications. The Nurse betrayed Juliet's trust. These two things alone wreaked havoc on Romeo and Juliet's lives. Given the circumstances, I believe Romeo and Juliet's death was unavoidable.

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