Explore how Shakespeare presents Friar Lawrence’s role as a guide and advisor to other characters in the play. The Friar is a pseudo-father figure to both Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare uses him to contrast Capulet and Montague, revealing their faults as patriarchs. The Friar is also a moral and spiritual guide to the audience throughout the play. In this extract, it is clear that the Friar sees himself as a teacher to Romeo as he calls him, ‘pupil mine’. The possessive personal pronoun ‘mine’ shows how he feels responsible for teaching and guiding young Romeo away from potential sin. Calling him by the noun ‘pupil’ demonstrates the Friar’s superior experience and knowledge – highlighting Romeo’s apparent naivety and therefore, vulnerability. This foreshadows how Romeo turns to the sins of murder and suicide as a ‘desperate man’, after he is banished from Verona and the guiding words of the Friar cannot reach him. Shakespeare presents the Friar’s guidance as being vital for Romeo’s soul. This scene also reveals the father-son relationship that the Friar and Romeo have. Romeo complains that the priest chides him ‘oft’. This adverb of frequency shows the regularity of their meetings and the usual proceedings of Romeo being criticised by the Friar, as a father would to a wayward son. Shakespeare uses a metaphor those who ‘stumble that run fast’ which has connotations of careless children in need of parental guidance. This suggests that the Friar views Romeo as an over-confident child whose rushed love will cause him to ‘stumble’. This echoes the Aristotelian idea of a tragic hero having an inevitable fall from pride, to their death. Shakespeare shows that the Friar is aware of Romeo’s tragic flaw of falling in love to deeply and quickly. Shakespeare creates dramatic irony for the audience through the Friar’s advice. The imperative warning, ‘love moderately’ is a command to Romeo to be careful, slow and reserved in pursuing his love. The audience are aware that Romeo and Juliet are ‘star-cross’d lovers’ and that the Friar’s warnings are futile. It is also ironic as the Friar then proceeds to marry the lovers, despite his obvious concerns. Shakespeare therefore creates a sense of impending doom for the couple as not even the word of a wise Friar can prevent their tragic fate. The Friar’s warning about Romeo’s loving nature adds to the audience’s sympathy, as it is his love which propels his fate to die. The Friar also acts as a father and guide to Juliet, after she is told that she must marry Paris, despite her clear refusal. Capulet had declared that he would ‘drag’ his only daughter to the church if he had to, showing his lack of fatherly love or Christian morals. Capulet had clearly asserted his authority as the patriarch of the family, causing Juliet to desperately seek out help from the priest. Shakespeare shows the flaws of the patriarchal family structures of his time by contrasting Capulet and the Friar with adjacent scenes in act four. He suggests therefore, that the church and faith can offer solace where the family cannot. Juliet is (like Romeo), desperate for help as she exclaims ‘I long to die’ and threatens to kill herself with a ‘bloody knife’. Shakespeare presents the Friar as calm and pragmatic, (as usual) as he tries to prevent Juliet committing sin against herself. The Friar promises that he will give Juliet ‘remedy’ in the form of a potion. Here the Friar is more than an advisor; he is an active participant, trying to prevent and delay fate through the use of ‘medicine’. Earlier in the play, Shakespeare uses the oxymoron of ‘medicine’ and ‘poison’ to show the Friar as being interested in both. This contrast of life preserving and ending plants reveals the Friar’s plan to ‘heal’ Juliet by having her ‘appear like death’. This simile demonstrates again that Romeo and Juliet are constantly on the edge of life and death – fate being in control of their destiny. Shakespeare presents the paradox of a healing and witch-like friar to show to conflict between faith and fate in the play. God’s word, through the priest is not enough to prevent fate from prevailing. A contemporary audience may be shocked by a priest meddling with potions and plotting as witchcraft was a crime and punishable by death. However, this shows how far the Friar will go to protect the innocent youths who have sought his help. He must protect the holy union of the marriage that he ordained. Shakespeare presents the Friar as a guide and surrogate father to both protagonists in the play, to emphasise the failings of their own parents, the importance of faith in God, and to provide opportunities to attempt to overcome fate. His advice allows the tragedy to be delayed, and therefore create suspense for the audience. The audience are comforted by the Friar as a constant moral compass in the play as a reminder of the sins being committed and the severity of their tragic, inevitable outcomes. Additional Point: The Friar not only guides the characters but also the audience. Shakespeare achieves this through the Friar’s powerful soliloquy. He uses the oxymoronic metaphor, ‘virtue itself turns to vice, if misapplied’. This is the key issue of the play, made clear to the audience as he speaks only to them. The juxtaposition between the abstract nouns, ‘virtue’ and ‘vice’ leave the audience to determine how these terms are shown in the play – love turns to sin as it has been mistreated. The Friar subtly guides the audience to pause and look at how various characters and mishaps cause love to turn to sin. This is significant as both Protestants and Catholics considered suicide as sinful in this period. The chorus in the prologue tells us that the lovers will ‘take their life’ which is the ‘vice’ that he is alluding to. The Friar therefore acts as a guide to the audience to observe how this tragic outcome can be possible and can deserve their sympathy. The Friar success that ‘accidents’ and ‘unhappy fortune’ are to blame, not any one mistake or character. The mistreatment of Romeo and Juliet’s love is something that the priest desperately tries to prevent, but more powerful forces are clearly at work.