Friar Laurence is a Franciscan friar who is confessor to both Juliet and Romeo, and whom Paris immediately thinks of when he requires a priest for his wedding.
A gardener with a vast knowledge of plants and their properties, Friar Laurence is something of a mentor to Romeo, often telling him off for the ridiculousness of his calf-love for Rosaline. The speed at which Romeo switches his affections from Rosaline to Juliet appalls him, but he chooses to assist the young man in the hopes of bringing an end to the war between Capulets and Montagues. He tries to snap Romeo out of his suicidal angst after being banished, and plans for him to stay in Mantua for a time before making all well. Paris and Capulet’s insistence on Juliet’s early marriage to the County throws a kink into his plans, and he is faced with another suicidal teenager. This time, the idea of suicide makes him think of counterfeit deaths, and he thinks up an elaborate plot to fake Juliet’s death and sneak her out of Verona. When his letters explaining this to Romeo do not make it to their intended recipient, he is not overly concerned, but hurries to Juliet’s grave to wake up her up. The closer he gets the more worried he gets, and when on meeting Balthasar he learns that Romeo has arrived at the grave he is taken with fear. He attempts to get Juliet to leave the tomb, but when she demurs he is too frightened of the approaching Watch to stay with her. Captured, he admits all the story to the Prince, taking full responsibility and offering his life to the Prince.