Friar Laurence is a character with distinct individuality. Being a person who likes to succor anyone who seek help from him, he was dragged into the affairs of Romeo and Juliet. The friar was surprised at Romeo’s decision to marry Juliet as he was determined to marry Rosaline before. He cries is astonishment, “Holy St. Francis! What a change is here!” Romeo’s sudden shift of love and commitment brought the same kind of surprise among the readers too. The noble Friar found a chance of reconciling the hostile houses i.e. the Capulets and Montagues. So, he agreed to help them for getting married. His tenderness toward the young lovers obscured him from foreseeing how this alliance would work out. He manifest humanity, enlightened outlook toward the world, possess austere spiritual knowledge, moralism and affection. He slightly mocks at Romeo for forgetting Rosaline and his decision to marry Juliet within a short span of time.

When he briefly narrated Romeo’s and Juliet’s tragic end, the prince remarked, “We still have known thee as a noble man”. As a “noble man” of Elizabethan society, he should not have supported a mundane affair like secret marriage of the young lovers. Shakespeare does not agree to spiritual pride, narrowness and pedantry of Catholicism. That is why the Danish critic, Georg Brandes describe Friar as “the emancipated creation of an emancipated poet.” Friar is the portrayal of Shakespeare’s trait of benevolence. This character brought a moderation to the violent acts of the play. He brought a subtle atmosphere by his philosophical advises. His philosophy of life is based on his isolated life. He can be considered as one wise man in the whole list of characters of the play. But in another way, we can consider him as responsible for the ill-fate of the lovers. Had he disagreed to help them for the secret marriage or advised Juliet to confess the marriage rather than taking the drug, Romeo and Juliet would have been alive, even though not together. Since the plot demands these actions and Friar’s advises turned out to be the catalyst for the rise and denouement of actions. It is to be considered that Friar warned Romeo for his haste to marry Juliet and its unpleasant consequences. But it is baffling that he himself changed his mind regarding the marriage. It can be considered that the wavering of his opinions, between head and heart, intellect and emotion. His position as a priest wants him to stop them from marrying against norms of religion and society. But as a man of tender heart he couldn’t separate the passionate lovers. His heart won over his brain. Love won over the pedantic social norms. In a way Romeo and Juliet’s love won over all the obstacles they had to face. They were transcended to the ethereal world where nothing can stop them from loving each other. Friar Laurence was just an element assisting in that. He achieved his of goal bringing peace to burning feud of Capulets and Montague but not in the way he envisaged. He wanted it with the uniting of Romeo and Juliet. But it happened with their departure from this world. Friar personifies morality and virtue as found in all other great plays. Such a dramatic persona conditions all other character and will be an action himself. “Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.” (Act II Scene 4). From this we can understands that he realized that the wedding happened too quick and now he has got this feeling of rethinking the whole affair. We cannot blame him for lacking foresightedness. He knew that, “These violent delights have violent ends” (Act II, scene vi) he knew that it was a difficult situation and doubted the credibility of his decision. But it was too late to rethink or restructure the plan.

Friar Lawrence is similar and different at the same time, to other friars of his time. An important feature is education. In Shakespeare’s time, holy men were well educated and had scientific knowledge. The Friar is an expert in nature and medical subjects. Friar Laurence differ from his real-life counterparts by his involvement in other’s lives and problems. He got involved in the lives of Romeo and Juliet, made possible the forbidden wedding, the death plan of Juliet which ended up in the actual death of both.