Friar Laurence and Nurse Comparative Essay
However, when the two (Friar and Nurse) learn about the forbidden love, their views on the marriage contrast. While the Friar is supportive of the lovers, the Nurse has more of a biased opinion. Because of their difference in opinion, the end result is the Nurse ultimately betraying Juliet by siding with her parents, while the Friar continued to believe that peace through their marriage could be achieved. First of all, the Friar acts as Romeo’s friend, advisor, and parent figure. It has been shown multiple times that Romeo trusts him. One example of this, is during their conversation, when Romeo confesses his feelings towards Juliet.
The Friar, upon knowing this, immediately says “Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear, / So soon forsaken? ” (2. 3. 62). His reaction reveals to us, that Romeo had previously told the Friar about Rosaline; even though he did not tell anyone else. This shows us that his trust in the Friar was even greater than that of his friends and family.
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This parallels to the situation happening with the Nurse and Juliet on the Capulet’s side. The Nurse acts as a parent figure to Juliet, and when Juliet realizes she had fallen in love with a “loathed enemy” (1. 5. 41), the Nurse is the person she reveals it to. Additionally, after Juliet’s conversation with Romeo on the balcony, she chooses the Nurse to be her messenger. This is another piece of confirmation that shows that Juliet’s trust in the Nurse is greater than that of her biological family; considering that she did not reveal her secret to anyone else. These two are seen as parallels because in each, the Friar and the Nurse are the only people the lovers considered trustworthy to confide in about their feelings. The Friar’s significance to Romeo parallels that of the Nurse’s significance to Juliet.
Despite the Friar and Nurse’s parallel warmth toward the lovers, their opinions on the forbidden wedding contrast. Upon announcing the news of the wedding to both confidants, the Friar replies with “In one respect I’ll thy assistant be. / For this alliance may so happy prove, / To turn your households’ rancour to pure love” (2. 3. 86-88). He had continued to support them wholeheartedly, hoping to end their family feud. However, the Nurse did not have the same reaction. After hearing Romeo’s agreement on the marriage, the Nurse had tried multiple times to stall delivering the news to Juliet.
During their (Nurse and Juliet) conversation, the Nurse attempted to change the subject numerous times, saying irrelevant complaints such as “I am aweary, give me leave awhile: / Fie, how my bones ache! What a jaunt have I had! ” (2. 5. 25-26), and “Jesu, what haste! Can you not stay awhile? / Do you not see that I am out of breath? ” (2. 5. 29-30). These interruptions show us that she was not interested in giving Juliet the news, and she was hoping that Juliet wouldn’t decide to continue through with it. Lastly, this difference of opinion results in a contrasted ending for the Friar and the Nurse.
After hearing the news of Romeo’s banishment, and Capulet’s decision to marry Juliet to Paris; Capulet and Juliet end up having a disagreement, that results in Nurse saying “I think it best you married with the county” (3. 5. 218). This leads Juliet to conclude that the Nurse had betrayed her saying “Thou and my bosom henceforth shall be twain” (3. 5. 241), and ultimately shunning her away. The Friar, however, after hearing Juliet’s dilemma, acts the opposite of the Nurse, and instead chooses to find a solution.
In conclusion, Friar Laurence and the Nurse show several parallels and differences towards each other. They showed parallels through their similar roles they played to the lovers, and they showed differences through their contrasted reactions of situations, such as their views on the secret wedding, and their tested loyalties. To sum it up, their roles in the play were important as they both acted as guides towards the lovers, and in the end, despite their different choices, they both chose the decisions that they thought were best for Romeo and Juliet.