Who’s to Blame? Friar Lawrence or Parents?

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“I will stay with you, [and] make it to the other side like lovers do” (Don’t Give Up on Me by Andy Grammar). When Romeo and Juliet first saw each other, they knew that their love was more powerful than anything else in the world. Therefore, when it came to life or death, life wasn’t an option. They knew that in the end, life had no purpose if they couldn’t spend it with the love of their life. The two love birds were inseparable, but there is not a clue on who to blame for their suicide. In the play, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, it becomes difficult to tell who to blame for Romeo and Juliet’s suicide because they were two young lovers who had many people to blame for their suicide, including Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet’s parents, and themselves’.  One person to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet could be Friar Lawrence because he gave Juliet the sleeping potion to trick everyone that she was dead. Juliet stands forced to marry Paris, -courtesy of her father- but she didn’t want to because she was already married to Romeo, and nobody but the Friar knew. Then, Friar Lawrence had -what he thought- a brilliant plan, and gave Juliet a vile, telling her:

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FRIAR LAWRENCE. Take thou this vial, being then in bed,

And this distilled liquor drink thou off;

When presently through all thy veins shall run

A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse.

Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:

No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;

Each part, deprived of supple government,

Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death. (4.1.96-107)

Friar Lawrence had given Juliet a sleeping potion to drink when she is in bed with nobody around, and it will appear that she is dead. Although this may have been a good plan at first, it would have been better if Friar Lawrence could control the chain of events that occurred after. When Romeo found out his love was dead, he went to visit Apothecary -a pharmacist who makes drugs from herbs- to buy a bottle of poison to drink next to Juliet’s tomb and die, so Apothecary instructed Romeo, ‘Put this in any liquid thing you will – And drink it off; and, if you had the strength – Of twenty men, it would dispatch you straight’ (5.1.80-83). Romeo did what Apothecary told him to do and went to Verona. All Romeo wanted to do was die next to his wife, Juliet, in peace. Therefore, Friar Lawrence is someone to blame because if he hadn’t given Juliet the sleeping potion, Romeo wouldn’t have had to buy poison for himself to drink next to the sleeping Juliet that killed himself. Then, Juliet wouldn’t have stabbed herself with a dagger to be in spirit with her love, Romeo.

Another person to blame could be the parents of both Romeo and Juliet because it was the parents of both families who kept the ancient family feud going. Romeo and Juliet loved each other but couldn’t tell their parents about their secret love for one another. When they first met and kissed, the Nurse had informed Juliet that her mother- Lady Capulet- would like to speak to her, and when Romeo realized that Juliet was the daughter of his worst enemy, he said to himself, ‘Is she a Capulet? – O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt’ (1.5.117-118). Romeo was horrified and devastated that he was deeply in love with a Capulet of his worst enemy. He didn’t know what to do because he knew that his parents and her parents would never let them date. He knew that he couldn’t tell anyone that he was in love with a Capulet and needed to keep it a secret! A few days later, Romeo drinks poison, and Juliet stabs herself with a dagger to be with each other in death. When the Prince arrives to address the scene, he scolds both Montague and Capulet, explaining, ‘Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague! – See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, – That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love’ (5.3.307-309). The Prince informs the Montague and Capulet that their feud has caused the deaths of the ones they love. He believes that it would be better for everyone that they end their silly feud and makeup because now, both families have lost their only child. In the end, the parents have a significant contribution to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because none of the past events would have occurred if they ended their ancient feud.  The third person to blame could be Romeo and Juliet themselves because, in the end, they were the ones who decided to kill themselves for the love of each other. Romeo and Juliet loved each other to a point where they couldn’t live without each other. Even when Juliet figured out that Romeo had drunk poison and died, she became jealous and said:

JULIET. O, churl! Drunk all, and left no friendly drop

To help me after? I will kiss thy lips;

Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,

To make die with a restorative. (5.1.175-179)

Juliet had wished that Romeo left some poison for her to drink and die because she wanted to be with Romeo in death. She was jealous that Romeo didn’t have any poison left to help her die a painless death. Juliet was determined to die after realizing that her true love, Romeo, was dead. Later that day – in the final scene of the play, after both Romeo and Juliet killed themselves – the Prince read Romeo’s letter that Romeo wrote to his parents, and explained:

PRINCE. Their course of love, the tidings of her death:

And here he writes that he did buy a poison

Of a poor ‘pothecary, and therewithal

Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet. (5.3.303-306)

Romeo’s letter explains that he bought poison to die next to Juliet because he loves her with all his heart. Romeo explains that Juliet is his wife and was heartbroken when he heard about her death, so he bought poison from a poor Apothecary. In the end, Romeo and Juliet both had their reasons for killing themselves and believed that if they couldn’t be together in life, they would be together in death.  In the play, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, there are many people to be blamed for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, including Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet’s parents, and themselves’ because they were two young lovers with many secrets. Romeo and Juliet loved each other with all their heart, and each became devastated when they found out that something unfortunate had happened to their lover. Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet’s parents, and Romeo and Juliet themselves’ all contributed to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence helped keep Romeo and Juliet’s marriage a secret, which in the end lead to his decision to give Juliet a sleeping potion that made her look like she was dead. Romeo and Juliet’s parents continued the ancient grudge between the two families, which led to Romeo and Juliet’s decision to keep their love and marriage a secret. Then, the wedding between Paris and Juliet wouldn’t have had to happen if Romeo and Juliet could have been honest with their parents about their love for each other. Ultimately, Romeo and Juliet made their own decisions within their short-lasting life and love, and both decided that if they couldn’t be with each other in life, they would be together in death. 

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Who’s To Blame? Friar Lawrence Or Parents?. (2021, May 22). Retrieved September 30, 2022 , from
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