Question: What is the personality and function of Friar Laurence?
Answer: He is the adviser and guide of the hero and heroine. They represent those in whom there is a divorce of reason
and passion. They are unreflecting, young, impulsive, fiery. In all these respects Friar Laurence is a contrast to them. He is passionless, philosophic.
In a great drama there is generally a character
who personifies reason and moral order, who is a
type of the normal. Such is Friar Laurence.
The function of such a character is similar to that of an adjective in grammar; viz., it conditions, it
qualifies. The adjective has that effect on a noun. Such a dramatis persona has that effect on the other
actors in a drama, and also on the action itself. He conditions; qualifies them.
Also, secondarily, by means of contrast, he tends to make more evident the aberrations of the other
characters from the normal, and thereby heightens the tragic and comic in the drama.
How to cite this article:
Fleming, William H. How to Study Shakespeare. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1898. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/romeoandjuliet/questions/functionfriar.html >.