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ACT III, SCENE III

LINES 1-78

If we were watching a movie, we might see a fade-out on Juliet crying "banished," and a fade-in on Romeo crying the same thing. He's in Friar Lawrence's cell, and the Friar has just told him of the Prince's judgment. The Friar is very relieved that Romeo isn't condemned to death, and he's confident that eventually things will work out.

But Romeo can see no future for himself: to be separated from Juliet is unthinkable to him. In another foreshadowing, he asks for poison or a knife with which to kill himself. Friar Lawrence tries to calm Romeo with philosophy and common sense, but Romeo cries, "Hang philosophy!" The Friar accuses Romeo of acting like a madman; Romeo accuses the Friar of not understanding the situation or his feelings.

But does that mean he shouldn't take any of Lawrence's advise? By the time there's a knocking at the door, Romeo even refuses to hide. He'd rather be killed.

LINES 79-175

Fortunately, the intruder is Juliet's Nurse. She tells the Friar that Juliet is acting as childishly as Romeo.

She orders Romeo to stand up and act like a man, then tells him Juliet's weeping, first calling for Tybalt, then for Romeo. Romeo's filled with guilt, thinking he's responsible for Juliet's suffering. He grabs his dagger to kill himself, but the Nurse pulls it away.

This threat finally provokes Friar Lawrence to action. Not only does he love Romeo dearly, but the Church sees suicide as a mortal sin. He commands Romeo to "hold thy desperate hand," and act like a man. "Thy tears are womanish," he accuses, "thy wild acts denote the unreasonable fury of a beast."

He tells Romeo to think of others beside himself, and to keep his mood in check. In yet another foreshadowing he asks:

Hast thou slain Tybalt? Will thou slay thyself? And slay thy lady that in thy life lives By doing damned hate upon thyself? (III, iii, 116-18) He also warns that Romeo's present mood is likely to cause a catastrophe that can be easily avoided. Knowing what we know, we want to add our support to these warnings.



The friar goes a little overboard in saying that "a pack of blessings light upon thy back," but he points out three reasons that Romeo should be grateful: 1) "Juliet is alive;" 2) "Tybalt would kill thee, but thou slewest Tybalt," and 3) "The law, threatened death, becomes thy friend and turns it to exile."

Friar Lawrence then lays out the plan of action: Romeo will spend the night with Juliet, sneak out of Verona before dawn and go to Mantua; then Friar Lawrence, after having their marriage recognized, will call him back.

The thought of seeing Juliet revives Romeo completely. Friar Lawrence and Romeo say loving goodbyes to one other; unknown to them, it's their final farewell.

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