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Analyse the role of Mercutio in 'Romeo and Juliet, Act three scene one'

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Analyse the role of Mercutio in 'Romeo and Juliet, Act three scene one' Mercutio is a close friend and companion of Romeo's. He enjoys joking with Romeo and seeks Romeo's attention. Shakespeare included Mercutio in 'Romeo and Juliet' as he entertains the audience with his eccentric and witty speeches. Throughout the pain, love and suffering Mercutio provides a humorous break from the emotional tragedy. Mercutio is a catalyst in the play: he convinces Romeo to go to the Capulet's party, where he meets Juliet; Mercutio's death sets off the chain of events leading to Romeo's banishment, and turns the play into a tragedy. Mercutio also reveals some of Romeo's character and thoughts when they speak. Mercutio is not a typical young man of the sixteenth century, he is unique and complex. He is disrespectful of his elders and women, and does not believe in 'courtly love.' An audience would like Mercutio. He is witty and comical- entertaining the audience. They would enjoy his dynamic, flamboyant, dramatic, strong character and would be shocked by his disgust for dreams and disrespect for Juliet's nurse. The audience would be astonished by Mercutio's intelligence and ability to manipulate attention to him. They would admire his faithfulness towards Romeo; his bravery and courage and the amount of energy he puts into the things he says and does. Mercutio sounds a bit like Mercurial, unpredictably changeable. ...read more.


An example of this is: in reply to consort'st' from Tybalt Mercutio acts as though he thinks Tybalt is implying that Mercutio and Romeo are 'minstrels'. This shows that Mercutio is good at acting and can hide his feelings easily. Mercutio shows he is not taking Tybalt seriously as in reply to Tybalt's formal 'you' he uses 'thou'. Mercutio talks in prose also showing that he is not taking him seriously until he uses the word 'zounds' now showing he is taking the conversation more seriously- bringing religion into it, which was very important in Shakespeare's time. Mercutio is provoking Tybalt. He may just dislike Tybalt or might be angry and in the mood for a fight, Tybalt is a perfect person to fight with. It may also be because he knows Tybalt will fight Romeo and there is a very good chance Romeo will lose- he is distracting Tybalt from Romeo. This shows that Mercutio is devoted to Romeo and protective of him. Later Mercutio becomes even more dangerous and serious, putting all his attention on the conversation with Tybalt, and the tension builds. Mercutio uses blank tone and uses the very confident 'I will not budge for no man's pleasure'. This shows the audience that Mercutio has a very strong, confident character that is very dramatic and possibly a bit stubborn- he wants to have a fight and will make sure he gets one. ...read more.


He blames Romeo and retorts 'why the devil did you come between us?' This shows that Mercutio does not believe in fate and that he is shattered by Romeo helping Tybalt and not him. Mercutio asks Benvolio to help him and turns away from Romeo. This shows how enraged he is with Romeo. He says 'a plague on both your houses' three times, which is a magic number associated with mystical, supernatural things. This is surprising because Mercutio is a realist and has never been associated with these things before. Mercutio ends with 'your houses!' which stresses the importance of the 'plague quote'. When Mercutio dies the attributes of comedy die with him. From now on the play becomes a tragedy. This demonstrates how Mercutio is all that is entertaining and carefree in the play. The audience would be sad to see him go. He was exciting because he was different and a bit 'bad' unlike other characters e.g. Benvolio. They would become angry with Lord Montague and Lord Capulet because their feud caused such a fun character to die. A modern audience would respond differently from a Shakespearean one. They would not be used to the aspect of 'courtly love' so would not relate to it. Disrespect for elders and women is much more common in modern England so a modern audience would not feel the intensity of Mercutio being so shocking. Also the plague is not experienced at all in modern England so it would not seem so daunting or horrific, at least not as profoundly as Shakespeare might have liked. Rachel Wilkins 1 ...read more.

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