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Evaluate Shakespeares Presentation of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet Considering Language, Themes and Context

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Evaluate Shakespeare's Presentation of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet Considering Language, Themes and Context Kinsmen to the prince and Romeo's best friend, Mercutio is one of the most extraordinary and complex characters in this play. His main role in the play is an entertainer and is the main source of humour in the play. He is a character full of imagination and quick wit but is presented in an outlandish way. Shakespeare presents Romeo by using a variety of sexual innuendo and bawdy language. He can often get hot-headed and dislikes people who are vain and obsessed with their looks. He is disinterested by Romeo's love life and often jokes of it, he believes the aim of relationships is only sex. However, he is the "messenger" and is the reason for the meeting of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare uses a variety of language, mostly sexual and creative techniques both linguistic and dramatic to full effects to present the character of Mercutio in the best way possible. Act one scene four is when Mercutio is first introduced to the audience, much later than many of the other major characters. We already know that Romeo is heading to the feast with his friends but the introduction of Mercutio at this point makes the audience want to find out more about him. ...read more.


By Shakespeare making the speech appealing to young children he himself is putting Mercutio in the same category which best describes the vivid imagination he has. He also says in reply to Romeo, "....true I talk of dreams........." Shakespeare has included this to show that despite the vivid fantasy and imagination of Mercutio he still knows that he living on planet earth and that he understands that he can talk of a dream but whilst he is on earth these dreams are purely just fantasies. The language used by Mercutio is the disliked factor of his personality; he mocks Romeo and his troubled love life. He thinks love is only a way of having sexual intercourse with someone else, "To raise a spirit in his mistress' circle." And, "If love is blind, love cannot hit the mark." Romeos love life is troubled and Shakespeare presents this by saying it is blind but again the highly sexual Mercutio basically says that if love is troubled where is the sexual intercourse. However, the language does create humour to the audiences' enjoyment, especially with his double sexual meanings showing his quick-wittedness. The theme of tragic love in Romeo and Juliet is given a deeper meaning by Mercutio. In Act Two Scene Four he uses language to show this. ...read more.


Go villain, fetch a surgeon." He still manages to maintain the Mercutio the audience has got to know by joking whilst on his last gasps of breath and the brink of death. Probably the turning point of the play is when Mercutio repeatedly says, "A plague a' both your houses!" The death of the animated and boisterous man seems like a fatal tragedy, but when he is about to die he curses both the households of the ancient grudge. He is the first victim of the rivalry between Capulets and Montagues. Shakespeare uses just this one phrase to give a glimpse at what is to happen later on in the play. This quote and the death of Mercutio helps to keep the focus of play on the tragedy that it is. Overall Shakespeare presents Mercutio as a very important character in the play. He adds humour of a shocking nature at inappropriate and inconvenient times. However, Shakespeare uses this to his strength to maintain the attention of the audience. Shakespeare does this by using a variety of interesting and exuberant language mostly of a bawdy of sexual nature together with both many techniques both linguistic and dramatic like metaphors. Shakespeare killed Mercutio off at the correct time because there had to be a pivotal part in the play and to kill off such a main character was the start of the climax which is why his death is so important, as it begins a chain of events leading to a dramatic ending. ...read more.

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