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Friar Lawrence

Romeo and Juliet

Unhappy Fortune! The Plague in the Plays

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Shakespeare killed scores of his characters — by sword, by dagger, by poison, by flame, by drowning, by hanging, by murder, by suicide, by accident — men, women, children, all ages, killed by many means, even by a bear. But the deaths of only two of his central characters can be attributed to the plague, and even then, only by proximate cause, not directly by the plague.
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Banishment: Romeo and Coriolanus

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For two of Shakespeare’s most passionate male characters, banishment holds passionately different meanings. Romeo, banished from Verona, is grief-stricken and in fear of never seeing Juliet again. For him, banishment is the equivalent of death. Coriolanus, banished from Rome, is enraged and contemptuous of the plebeians who he hopes he will never have to see again. For him, banishment is an opportunity for a new life. 
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A Plague and a Scourge

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Mercutio’s curse, “A plague o’ both your houses!” is fulfilled, although not literally. Despite the numerous ways scores of characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, no one in this play or any other Shakespeare play dies of the plague. But the plague is the proximate cause of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths.  When Friar Lawrence sends Friar John to deliver a letter to Romeo telling him of Juliet’s fake death,
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Tombs and Wombs

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Friar Lawrence’s rumination on soil as both a tomb and a womb works as a metaphor of one of the play’s central themes. The “misadventure’d piteous overthrows” of  Romeo and Juliet in the Capulet tomb at the end of the play gave birth to a growth of amity between their two families.
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Plagiarizing Himself

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Shakespeare often reused images and metaphors, stealing from himself. The simile in Friar Lawrence’s musing from Romeo and Juliet,

And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.

is echoed in the metaphor of the third quatrain of  Sonnet 73.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
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Friars, Friends and Deceivers

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Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing (4.1.221), like Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, is a sympathetic character who aids the romantic interests of the young lovers. Both friars fashion a conspiracy whose central conceit is the fake death of the lady. Friars fare better than the Catholic hierarchy in Shakespeare’s plays, even though the friars are as devious in their means as cardinals and archbishops.
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The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night

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The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,Personification
Check’ring the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And fleckled darkness like a drunkard reelsSimile
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.Allusion

The earth that’s nature’s mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave,
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Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied

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Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime by action dignified.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 3
Line 21

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Young men’s love then lies

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Young men’s love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 3
Line 71

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Themes:
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These violent delights have violent ends

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Friar Lawrence
These violent delights have violent ends,
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.Simili
The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness,
And in the taste confounds the appetite.Metaphor

Therefore love moderately: long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 6
Line 9

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Figures of Speech:
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Connected Notes:
Plagiarizing Himself

Here from Verona art thou banishèd

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Friar Lawrence
Here from Verona art thou banishèd.
Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.
Romeo
There is no world without Verona walls
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence “banishèd” is “banished from the world,”
And world’s exile is death. Then “banishèd”
Is death mistermed. Calling death “banishèd,”
Thou cutt’st my head off with a golden ax
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.
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Source:
Act 3
Scene 3
Line 16

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Banishment: Romeo and Coriolanus

Holy Franciscan friar, brother, ho!

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Friar John
Holy Franciscan friar, brother, ho!
 Enter Friar Lawrence.
Friar Lawrence
This same should be the voice of Friar John.—
Welcome from Mantua. What says Romeo?
Or, if his mind be writ, give me his letter.

Suspecting that we both were in a house
Where the infectious pestilence did reign,
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 2
Line 1

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Connected Notes:
Unhappy Fortune! The Plague in the Plays