Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finding a Turn

It came to me last night as I was in deep contemplation, that there is a key moment during which Friar Laurence, for whatever good he may think he has, crosses a line into something that is different from where he started.

In other words, I figured that I should find a moment or a scene wherein he goes someplace that he perhaps should not have gone, regardless of his fine intentions. Having this scene or moment would make him more human, and tie him in to the whole theme of the piece, I believe.

It seems to me that that moment is when he lies to the Capulet's about Juliet being dead. True, the plan had greater goals in his mind, and he thought he would be able to bring her back, and (I have always supposed) eventually tell the tale of her escape with Romeo to Mantua. Yet he does not simply avoid the issue, or stay silent in that crucial scene. Instead, he proceeds to deliver a long and rather poetic speech about the nature of Juliet's supposed death, even going so far as to contemplate how the heavens were louring upon the house for some reason.

In other words, he does not simply allow something to slip by undetected in order to achieve a greater good. It seems to me right now he went out of his way to exert a great deal of power and effort, in his position as a holy man and priest, to manipulate the Capulet family into very specific actions in the immediate wake of Juliet's percieved death.

I wonder why he was motivated to be so flowery and emphatic in his deception here? (Other than the fact that Shakespeare was a poet who wrote excellent lines.) I also think it rather more than simply "what had to be done to forward the plot", as some critics argue. It does that of course, but I think I can and should find more of a reason why. I have some ideas, none of which are simply, "he had to get Juliet to the tomb so his plan would work." Again, that is true, but I look for more depth from him.

I won't share exactly how I might achieve this motivation just yet, until it is a bit more developed. But it has something to do with the Friar, at one key moment or two, falling victim to the very things everyone else in the pay seems to.

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