A popular perception persists that the Franciscan friars of Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing bear heavy blame for the results of the play, adversely for Friar Lawrence and positively for Friar Francis. The friars do formulate similar plans, but their roles vary significantly. I contrast their approaches using Michel Foucault's definition of pastoral power, with Friar Lawrence as an overly manipulative friar controlling the lovers in spiritual matters, and Friar Francis as a humble military friar returning from the Wars of Religion to share his authority with others. This distinction--especially with Friar Lawrence appearing chronologically first--demonstrates Shakespeare as more fluid in religious themes, contrary to a significant body of scholarship that asserts Shakespeare's pro-Catholic sympathies.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Banks, Amy Camille Connelly, "Shakespeare's Leading Franciscan Friars: Contrasting Approaches to Pastoral Power" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8931.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Franciscan, friars, Foucault, pastoral power