This mans actions lead to several life-changing events for many people. The decisions made by Friar Lawrence in William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet had an enormous impact on Romeo and Juliet, and their families. Sure he helped two people find love, but in the end he was responsible for their untimely death. Friar Lawrence struggled against the other throughout the play. The other was the always feuding Montague and Capulet family. Those two families have been in conflict for years and Friar Lawrence, like everyone else in Verona,he was tired of the feud, he just wanted the two houses to stop fighting. Hegelian ethics is a characters consistency with the universal will. Some characters have positive reactions while others have negative reactions to the universal will. Universal will is the harmony in which nature and humans live their lives. Although Friar Lawrence shows some consistency with the universal will in the play, there are times where he is inconsistent with the universal will as well.
Friar Lawrence proves that he is consistent with the universal will. There are a few times when Friar Lawrence does something for the greater good instead of for himself. First he brought two star crossed lovers together [The Prologue. 6]. After joining these two in marriage, he further helped the two of them out by keeping their marriage a secret. Another reason why Friar Lawrence was consistent with the universal will was when he tried to make the streets of Verona peaceful again. The constant feuding between the two houses on the streets was hated by all. Friar Lawrence tried to successfully unite the families by using Romeo and Juliet. Friar Lawrence said For this alliance may so happy prove/To turn your households rancour to pure love [II.iii.91-92]. This means that he is hoping that the alliance will lead to the households exhibiting true love for others instead of themselves. Next, Friar Lawrence is consistent with the universal will when he offers the sleeping potion to Juliet so that she can run off with Romeo together. Juliet was supposed to marry County Paris but she didnt want to be with anyone except for Romeo. Friar didnt want to see Juliet kill herself so he did what he needed to do to make sure she would be happy. Juliet said to the Friar, Be not so long to speak, I long to die/If what thou speakst speak not of remedy which means that the only thing she wanted to hear out of the Friars mouth was a solution to get her out of her marriage to Count Paris [IV.I.66-67]. The Friar wanted to make her happy so he respected her wishes.Lastly, once Romeo and Juliet had passed away, Friar Lawrence stepped up and told the whole story of what he did to help him. Friar Lawrence says to the others, if ought in this Miscarried by my fault, let my old life die/Be sacrificed, some hour before this time/Unto the rigour of severest law [V.iii.266-269]. This shows that he is willing to step up and say that these deaths happened partly because of him, and he is ready to take responsibility for his actions. These four things that the Friar does show that he still has some compassion for others in Verona. However, we start to see that compassion fade away once Friar Lawrence is in trouble.
Friar Lawrence proves that he is sometimes inconsistent with the universal will. One big thing that the Friar does that is inconsistent was when he left Juliet alone in the tomb after she woke up. The Friar said, Stay not to question, for the watch is coming/Come go, good Juliet, I dare no longer stay [V.iii.158-159]. This shows that the Friar is a coward because he ran away so fast, and that he doesnt really care about Juliet because he just leaves her there knowing full well that she was suicidal. To add to that, there are a couple things that he did in the play that have questionable motives to me. The first question that I am curious about is why does Friar Lawrence agree to marry Romeo and Juliet days after Romeo says that hes madly in love with Rosaline? Sure he wanted to try to bring the two houses together, but could he trust two teenagers to accomplish that task? Romeo obviously changes his mind so frequently that it would be hard to trust Romeo altogether. Friar Lawrence took a big risk by marrying the two, and unfortunately their marriage lead to their demise. The last question that I have about Friar Lawrences motives is if he is trying to end the Montague/Capulet feud why does he try to have Romeo and Juliet run away together? In my opinion that seems like it would cause both the families to get even angrier. This decision that Friar Lawrence made was hasty and sneaky, and it wasnt the best solution because he caused Romeo and Juliet to kill themselves. The decisions that Friar Lawrence made didnt help Romeo and Juliet at all. The decisions were what lead to their untimely death. Sure he meant well for the two teens, but if he really cared about them he would have developed a safer plan for them. Maybe a plan that involved their families so that they could see their true love, instead of hearing about it at their funeral. In the end his actions show us that Friar Lawrence is both consistent and inconsistent with the universal will because he makes poor decisions and good decisions. But in the end its his poor decisions that cause the tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet.