A kindly, philosophical friar of Verona who, as his community’s spiritual and intellectual center, keeps finding himself enmeshed in the dramas of House Montague and House Capulet. Romeo and Juliet like the friar and come to him separately on several occasions for advice about love, solutions to their problems, and favors small and large. Friar Laurence is clearly uncomfortable with his role as arbiter of the young lovers’ trials and tribulations—but at the same time, he longs to bring peace to his community, and believes that in uniting Romeo and Juliet he may be able to put to rest the ancient feud between their families. He marries Romeo and Juliet in secret in hopes of bringing all of Verona together, blind to what the larger consequences of his actions may be. In spite of his occasional shortsightedness, Friar Laurence is the play’s moral compass in many ways: he calls out Romeo for his melodrama and ungratefulness, Juliet for her rash responses to anger and frustration, and Capulet for his obsession with climbing Verona’s social ladder. In spite of all Friar Laurence’s efforts to help bring Romeo and Juliet together and bridge the gap between their two families, he ultimately fails—and Prince Escalus suggests the man may even be punished for his involvement in the whole affair. Levelheaded, righteous, hopeful, and resourceful, Friar Laurence tries hard to do what’s best for everyone—even if he’s unable, in the end, to bring peace to Verona in the way he envisioned.