The Timing of Romeo & Juliet

December 28, 2016 General Studies

Timing in any circumstance can have life-altering outcomes. Events in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet have domino-affects, illustrating that the poor timing of different events in the play led to tragic results.

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Capulet moved Juliet’s marriage from Thursday to Wednesday, which led to tragic events. Friar Lawrence’s plan for Juliet to, “take thou this vial, being then in bed,” (Act IV, sc. i, l.103) was thwarted when Capulet decides to, “have this knot knit up tomorrow morning,” (Act IV, sc. ii, l.26) and tells the nurse, “We”ll to church tomorrow” (Act IV, sc. ii, ll. 40-41). Juliet is then forced to take the vial a day earlier, “Romeo, I come! This do I drink to thee” (Act IV, sc. iii, l.60). Though Friar Lawrence’s plan seemed feasible, bad timing disillusioned his intentions.

Friar John couldn’t deliver the letter to Romeo, which created more complications. When Friar John comes to Friar Lawrence saying, “I could not send it nor get a messenger to bring it thee- (Act V, sc. ii, ll. 15-16), Friar Lawrence knows he must do something quick, “Unhappy fortune may do much danger. Friar John, go hence, get me an iron crow- (Act V, sc. ii, ll. 18-22). For Balthasar has reached Romeo beforehand, ” and her immortal part with angels lives. I saw her laid low in her kindred’s vault” (Act V, sc. i, ll. 20-21). Despite Friar John’s intents to help Friar Lawrence, nothing could stop the tragic outcome that followed.

Friar Lawrence shows up late to the Capulet tomb, generating the wanted effects of bad timing. Friar Lawrence knows he’s too late when he sees Romeo, he exclaims, “Alack, alack, what blood is this which stains the stony entrance of this sepulcher?” (Act V, sc. iii, ll. 52-53) Seconds later Juliet arises, “O comfortable friar! Where is my lord where is my Romeo?” (Act V, sc. iii, ll.160-63) If Friar Lawrence would of gotten there earlier this disaster may have been avoided. He later explains, “But when I came, some minute ere the time of her awakening, here untimely lay true Romeo dead”.


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