Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act V: Scene 2

Summary

Friar Laurence discovers that Friar John, the messenger he sent to Mantua with a letter to Romeo explaining that Juliet is alive, has been quarantined because of an outbreak of the plague and prevented from leaving Verona. Friar Laurence then hurries to the Capulet tomb because it is nearly time for Juliet to wake.

Analysis

Fate has once again altered the course of events in the play. In this instance, fate thwarts the Friar's plan by delaying his letter. The Friar cries, "Unhappy fortune!" echoing Romeo's earlier cry that he became "fortune's fool."

The scene is driven by an overwhelming sense of desperation as the Friar returns to the Capulet tomb to liberate Juliet. The audience may recall the Friar's words from Act II, Scene 3, that the earth is nature's mother and that her "burying grave . . . is her womb." The Friar's desperate attempt to physically extricate Juliet from the womb-like tomb casts him in the role of symbolic midwife, who must deliver Juliet from the bowels of death. Now the philosophical Friar, more at home with ideas, must take action so that his entire plan does not decay into an abortive attempt to defy fate.

Glossary

barefoot brother another friar.

to associate me to accompany me.

searchers of the town health officers whose duty it was to view dead bodies and report on the cause of death.

nice trivial.

charge important matters.

dear import of serious concern.

crow a crowbar.

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