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The Dramatic Importance of Mercutio in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Explain the Dramatic Importance of Mercutio in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet The famous play, Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare, is set in Verona, Italy. The main plot of the story is the conflict between two families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Mercutio is Romeo Montague's best friend, and not actually part of either families, but is a kinsman of the Prince of the City. Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio, Romeo's cousin, are young aristocrats in Verona. This means that none of them have work or jobs to do as such, and they roam the streets as young adolescents, and so typically, this sometimes leads them into trouble and brawls, especially with the rival family; the Capulets. Mercutio's first appearance in the play is in Act 1, Scene 4, when the Capulets are having a ball, and in Scene 2, Romeo and Benviolio have read the invitation list, and Mercutio's name is on the list. As Mercutio is related to the Prince of Verona, he has a high class status and is known by both families who want to keep him on their side. ...read more.

Middle

Mercutio believes that Romeo is still in love with Rosaline, when Romeo has fallen for Juliet. Mercutio continues to mock Romeo, calling him 'humours! madman! passion! lover!' like lover's moods, which Mercutio thinks is quite daft. Mercutio continues to tease Romeo, who is absent, and makes jokes, that Romeo is in lust, not love. When Mercutio and Benvolio finally give up their search and head home, Romeo says the Mercutio 'jests at scars that never felt a word' implying that Mercutio has not been in love so cannot know the pain of it. There is a contrast in the attitudes that Mercutio and Romeo show. Mercutio is loud, slightly rude and annoyed that his friend is acting so different because of his love-sickness. The next morning, Mercutio and Benvolio continue their search for Romeo. They assume that he stayed out all night, brooding over Rosaline. They also talk about a letter that Tybalt has sent Romeo, a challenge for turning up at the Capulet ball the previous night. Mercutio is not too fussed by this, and claims that Tybalt is a 'Prince of Cats' and even though he has been trained by professionals, he is not naturally gifted at duelling. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo attempts to 'forbear this outrage' but Mercutio is wounded instead. Mercutio continues to joke and word plays even though he knows that he has been fatally wounded and that he will die. He screams a prophetic curse, "a plague o'both your houses' and all his friends think that he is joking. As well as being a prophecy, this is also an acknowledgement that his death was stemmed from the Montague/Capulet quarrel. Mercutio is a proud and strong-minded character, and will not give up easily. His offensive and challenging character initiates the fight between him and Tybalt and his deaths leads onto Romeo killing Tybalt out of distraught and despair, Romeo being banished to Mantua, and eventually Romeo and Juliet killing themselves. The relationship between Romeo and Mercutio was deep and meaningful, which is why it triggered the chain of events leading to both lover's death. If the pair were not so close, then Romeo would have not become so distressed and gone after Tybalt. Mercutio is a very energetic and lively character; the play would seem slightly less interesting without Mercutio's wit and sense of humour. ?? ?? ?? ?? Julia Lim 11Y - English Coursework ...read more.

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