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Themes introduced my Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet In-Class Essay By Christiaan Hind Question 2: When Mercutio is fatally wounded by Tybalt, he cries, "A plague on both your houses!" What do you think this means? What themes in the context of the play, can be linked to his exclamation? In little more than five words, the Kinsman of the Prince, Mercutio, manages to transform the story of Romeo and Juliet from a comedy, to a tragedy. Many would call it the pivotal act, or the turning point of the story. As Mercutio lays dieing in a pool of his own blood, he utters the fateful words, "A plague o' both houses". While the underlying theme of the play is love, the line subverts the idea of love by introducing its polar opposite, death. ...read more.


Then, Romeo is exiled from Verona. This begins an intricate series of murder, mishap, and mayhem, building up to the final conclusion, the death of Romeo and Juliet. Love is often considered the main underlying theme in Romeo and Juliet. Whether it be the subtle love Romeo holds for Mercutio, or the more obvious affection he feels towards Rosaline at the start, and Juliet throughout the remainder of the play. Yet Mercutio's spiteful words result in the destruction of both these loves. Out of love for Mercutio, Romeo kills Tybalt. This implies that Romeo's love for Mercutio is greater than his love of Juliet. In killing Tybalt, Romeo effectively ends any chance of the Montague's and Capulet's reconciling in his lifetime. This damages his relationship with Juliet, the cousin of Tybalt. ...read more.


As a kinsman of the Prince, the war was not a problem of Mercutio's. He had been dragged into it by his friend, Romeo, and was needlessly killed. Had the Capulet's nor the Montague's gotten into this war in the first place, then dear Mercutio might have lived a somewhat longer, and more meaningful life. Mercutio was merely killed in the crossfire, and his death results in the murder of several other prominent characters. Mercutio's death acts to challenge the constant theme of love, and effectively changes not just the plot of the play, but the genre, and overall feel. It leads to a string of murders, changing the play from the original, whimsical comedy, into a somewhat morbid tragedy. Deaths become more and more frequent, until the death of both Romeo and Juliet acts to bring the feuding families together. Mercutio's curse seems to be lifted, and Verona becomes a happier place. Thus ends the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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Related AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet essays

  1. How did Shakespeare create tension in act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet

    Tybalt wants romeo gone but lord capulet stops him and tells him off "why, how now, kinsman, wherefore storm you so?..."(act 1 scene 5) he holed this against romeo and wants retribution and calls romeo a "villain" (act 1 scene 5)

  2. Who is to blame for the deaths of tybalt and mercutio?

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