romeo and juliet
Introduction – This scene is the most important scene in the play. It takes place after Romeo and Juliet get married. In the scene Tybalt tries to provoke Romeo into a fight. Romeo disapproves. Mercutio’s thinks that Romeo is backing away and so he steps up to fight against Tybalt. Tybalt kills Mercutio. This builds rage within Romeo who then kills Tybalt.
This scene is a contrast to the final moments of the last Act where Romeo and Juliet get married secretly. This contrast highlights the main theme of the play – violence and love. Both these themes are constantly brought up.
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- starts off as gentle person that doesn’t want to fight with Tybalt because of the fact he is married to Juliet and doesn’t want to fight with anyone in her family
- However we see a sudden change in character in Romeo. Throughtout the whole play until now he has been lonely person who was very gentle. After Mercutio’s death, he turns into a fiery person with lots of rage.
- Continues to see Tybalt as a person who is alway up for a fight. This is clearly shown when Tybalt calls Romeo a “villain” to provoke Romeo into duelling him, so that he could slay him. In the scene he kills Mercutio but ends being killed himself
- Mercutio speaks in a prose – it shows his informality however this doesn’t he is from a lower class. It illustrates his attitude towards the situation and Tybalt. It seems like he doesn’t think that he will die at the start of the scene (“but my heel, I care not”). However he does die. This reflects the unpredictably of the play.
- After Mercutio’s death the tone of the play becomes serious. This is a contrast to the beginning and middle of the scene where there is lots of comedy i.e. when Mercutio is dying he says “Ay a scratch a scratch” to downgrade he’s situation. However, after he dies all the characters speak in a blank verse. This is kept until the end of the scene. This tone foreshadows the banishing of Romeo
- “A plague o’ both your house” - a dying Mercutio reminds the audience of the tragedy that has occurred and is a perfect setup of the action and the tragedy that will occur and propel Romeo
- “make it a word and a bow” – shows the friendship between Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo. They will not let each other go alone. However there is a sense that Tybalt is there for a fight. Mercutio probably knows this. Being true to his character Mercutio could be saying that if one of my friend is in a fight then so may I.
- The repetition of the words “gentlemen” and “sir” used by Tybalt shows us his background – a person from high class family. However this is a contrast if you compare this with his behaviour. Words such as “sir” and “gentlemen” are usually used to show respect to the person you are talking to. This again is ironic because both these family has little or no respect for each other