The Nurse and Friar Laurence are kind but powerless characters who inadvertently contribute to the tragic ends of Romeo and Juliet. The Nurse is ignorant and unthinking as she enjoys and sets up the secret marriage, but she does not think about the consequences or take responsibility for them. The Nurse helps Juliet to marry Romeo when the Nurse knows it is forbidden. The Friar is wise and insightful when he marries Romeo and Juliet, but he simply does not have the power or the foresight to stop the tragic events that come after the marriage. Friar Laurence agrees to marry Romeo and Juliet, even though it is risky. These two characters share good intentions and love for Romeo and Juliet, and share the responsibility for their deaths.
The Nurse helps Juliet to marry Romeo because she is just thinking about Juliet s feelings without thinking about the problems this marriage could cause. In Act I, Scene. v., lines 137-138, she tells Juliet who Romeo is. It causes Juliet to get very upset: My only love, sprung from my only hate. (I.V.139), but the Nurse doesn t think about this. She doesn t see the trouble that has started. After the nurse realizes that Juliet and Romeo love each other, she doesn t stop it; instead, she agrees to carry the message to Romeo, although she knows Romeo is a Montague. After the Nurse has a secret meeting with Romeo, she teases Juliet and praises Romeo as a handsome and nice young man. She does not explain to Juliet the problems of loving Romeo. She helps and encourages Juliet to get to Friar Laurence s cell to get married. The Nurse doesn t consider the dangerous result of this action. She only thinks of the moment.
After the marriage, the Nurse quickly abandons Juliet. The Nurse refuses to help Juliet any more after Romeo kills Tybalt. Even though the Nurse supported the marriage before, she does little to stop the forced marriage of Juliet to Paris. She does not understand Juliet s emotional love for Romeo because the Nurse only thinks love is physical. She suggests to Juliet that Paris is as good as Romeo, and Juliet might as well take Paris because no one will know: I think you are as happy in this second match,/ For it excels your first: or if it did not,/ Your first is dead; or twere as good he were (III. v.) The Nurse ignores the feelings that Juliet has, and she doesn t think about Juliet s religious fear about marrying two men at the same time: My husband is on earth, my faith in heaven;/ How shall that faith return again to earth,/ Unless that husband send it me from heaven/ By leaving earth? (III. v.) . The Nurse thinks Romeo is as good as dead, and no good to Juliet. Her ignorance makes the Nurse unwise in letting Juliet sleep alone at the wedding eve, even though Juliet is upset and doesn t want to marry Paris. The Nurse loves Juliet like her own daughter, but when she helps Juliet, she contributes to the tragic outcome.
Friar Laurence is an intelligent and loving man who wants to end the fighting and help the two young lovers be together. Friar Laurence knows the danger of physical love when he tells Romeo, … young men s love, then, lies/ not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes (II. iii.) After careful thinking, Friar Laurence agrees to conduct the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, although he knows it is dangerous. He chooses to marry Romeo and Juliet because he hopes this marriage could stop the war between the families: In one respect I ll thy assistant be;/ For this alliance may so happy prove,/ To turn your households rancour to pure love (II. iii.). He marries them in secret and doesn t tell Montague or Capulet about the marriage immediately. Friar Laurence does everything he can to make the right decision about the marriage, and does not give up when things go wrong.
Friar Laurence believes in what he is doing, and does not abandon Romeo and Juliet when the trouble starts, but his plans accidentally lead to their deaths. When Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished, he gets very upset and feels that he cannot live without Juliet. Friar Laurence is smart; he convinces Romeo that he is lucky to be only banished and not put to death for killing Tybalt: Thy fault our law calls death; but the kind prince,/ Taking thy part, hath brush d aside the law/ … This is dear mercy, and thou see st it not (III. iii.). When there seems to be no way for Juliet to escape marriage to Paris, Friar Laurence gives Juliet the drug to make her look dead. He plans for Romeo and Juliet to escape and live in Mantua. However, Friar Laurence could not control everything enough for his plans to work. Unfortunately, Romeo does not receive the news that Friar Laurence sends to him because of a plague on the road to Mantua. This causes Romeo to think that Juliet is really dead and kill himself before Friar Laurence can get to the monument. When Juliet wakes up, she also does the same thing. Friar Laurence tries to help Romeo and Juliet, but he knows that he doesn t have the power to change their fate. Friar Laurence does his best for Romeo and Juliet after the trouble starts, but his plans actually contribute to their tragic ends.
Even though they try to help, the Nurse and Friar Laurence help cause the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. They help cause their deaths in different ways. The Nurse does not think about what will happen when she helps them marry, and does not help Juliet or take responsibility after the marriage. Friar Laurence is very careful before the marriage, and tries his best to help after the marriage, but it is not enough. His plans actually hurt them.