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What does Mercutio bring to the play? Why does Shakespeare kill Mercutio off?

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Introduction

Emmily Nonas 10W 25th January 2005 Coursework: Mercutio What does Mercutio bring to the play? Why does Shakespeare kill Mercutio off? Mercutio is an almost unique character in Romeo and Juliet, being full of imagination and wit that is shown greatly in the Queen Mab's speech. His name reflects his nature Mercutio coming from the word Mercurial meaning quick and unpredictable. He is a close relative of the Prince but not a member of either of the rival families. In Act One, Scene Four when Mercutio first enters the play, his upbeat personality contrasts sharply with the melancholy Romeo - 'Nay gentle Romeo, we must have you dance'. Mercutio shows concern for Romeo and is anxious for Romeo to be merry. Mercutio does not understand how Romeo is feeling. He regards love as a physical pursuit and mocks Romeo's view on love as a poetic and emotional pursuit. ...read more.

Middle

After the party, Romeo avoids his friends and climbs Juliet's orchard walls. Mercutio calls after Romeo, teasing him about Rosaline, who he believes is still madly in love with. Mercutio cannot help but to reduce such lovesick feelings to a rude and witty sexual comment - 'Now will he sit under a medlar tree, and wish his mistress were that kind of fruit'. Mercutio shows that he can't take anything seriously. We are left with the feeling that Mercutio has never really been in love. There are different dynamics with Benvolio and Mercutio. Benvolio loves peace. Mercutio loves to argue. Mercutio loves to quarrel. He's naturally argumentative and in his final appearance (his death scene) it is a mixture of comic language and dramatic sadness. Mercutio is in a bad mood because Romeo isn't around. Mercutio is disapproving of Benvolio's lack of wit - he can't participate in witty banter. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Mercutio dies, he declares "A plague on both your houses," since he is only a friend of Romeo's and not his kinsmen. Romeo thinks the wound is not bad, to which Mercutio replies, "No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve. Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man". This shows that Mercutio is still amusing even when he is dying. To die as love's victim, as it were, when you do not believe in the religion of love just physical love, and do not even know what you are dying for, is a dreadful irony that foreshadows the terrible ironies that will destroy Juliet and Romeo as the play concludes. I think Mercutio was killed off in the play because in the first part of the play, Mercutio steals the play with his imagination and wit therefore he needed to be killed off in order for the play to belong to Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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