Friars, Friends and Deceivers
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. Even the fake friar, the disguised Duke Vincentio, in Measure for Measure conspires dishonestly for good ends.