Explication Essay Final
In act 2, scene three, lines 1-31, Friar Lawrence gives a stirring speech on the beauty of the world and the nature of good and evil. When he begins the speech, the Friar is talking to himself, but Romeo enters the scene part way through, after which Friar Lawrence addresses Romeo. This speech occurs at a pivotal moment in the play; just before this scene, Romeo and Juliet professed their love for each other and this speech is a way of warning the audience that their love might not work out like they want. Also, right after this passage, when Romeo and the Friar start talking, he is shocked at Romeo’s lightning fast shift from loving Rosaline to loving Juliet.
This tells us some interesting things about Friar Lawrence. He takes the first six lines just to talk about how the sun is rising and what it looks like. This alone shows that, along with being a priest and a medicine man, Friar Lawrence is also a morning person. Also, he is someone who is educated in Greek literature. He makes an allusion to Greek mythology and comments about the sun god and how he is driving the sun up the sky in his chariot of fire. After he is done commenting about the sun, he gives the audience their setting. He is filling a basket with herbs and spices for his medicinal uses. As he walks through his garden, he talks to himself (the audience) about Mother Nature and how she created everything to be different and unique. At this point, Friar Lawrence starts talking about how everything in nature has some good qualities, and how there isn’t anything that is solely evil. Similarly, he says that there also isn’t anything that has no evil, or cannot be used for foul purposes. In other words, good things always have potential to go bad. To contrast this, he says that bad things can also be used for good, or seemingly bad deeds can end up being good in the end. His thoughtfulness when he is all by himself shows that he is truly a good priest, has been for a long time, and will continue for a long time. He talks about deep, meaningful subjects in a nuanced way without anybody watching, just because that is who he is. The first part of Friar Lawrence’s speech tells us a number of things about his personality: he is apparently a morning person, he is learned in Greek mythology, and he is a priest who is intellectually reflective.
At this point, Romeo enters the scene and Friar Lawrence picks up a flower from the ground. Building on his previous thoughts, he tells Romeo that in the flower, there is both poison and medicine, good and evil; smelling the flower makes you happy, while eating it kills you. He then goes on to say that people are like the little flower, with both good and bad. But he warns that if the bad overpowers the good, that person’s body and spirit will be eaten by a metaphorical “cancer.” Friar Lawrence’s insightful wisdom not only adds to our…