Mercutio's Part In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

2396 words - 10 pages

Mercutio's Part in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, one of the most outstanding stage plays in the
world, was produced by William Shakespeare in around 1595. It is one
of the greatest tragedies ever produced as it explores and expresses
the sensations of love and has the most memorable storylines of all
time. One of the most entertaining characters Shakespeare has created
throughout his career without a doubt is Mercutio, who is the kinsman
to prince Escales and could be argued to be the most significant
character in the play. The following argument will bring about the
essay that I am writing.

Mercutio, though he is one of the most influential characters of Romeo
and Juliet, still plays the 'second fiddle' to Romeo and maybe even
Juliet (as it might be suggested by the title). However his
intelligence, wit and charisma have a huge part to play in the outcome
of the play. This means that it could be argued that Mercutio is as
important as he thinks he is.

Mercutio is perhaps the most cynical and poised characters in the
history of stage plays. His insolence and irresponsible bawdiness make
him a brilliantly effective figure on stage. Love to him is to be
treated roughly and his outrageous comments and gestures to the other
characters are wittily exaggerated, bringing great entertainment and
comedy moments to the play. Mercutio's main role in the play is to
enhance the purity of Romeo's love by contrast. He acts as Romeo's
conscience when he urges him in to the ball. Moreover the figurative
'Queen Mab' speech, where the almost mystical and enchanting midwife
ends up as an incubus, shows how Mercutio uses his intellectual
ability to allow Romeo to somehow foresee his own death. However his
choleric, superficial characteristics and hatred of Tybalt introduces
the turning point in the play, as he intentionally provokes a fight
with Tybalt, bringing about his own death because of his ignorance.

Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, Mercutio's main role in the play is
to enhance the purity of Romeo's love by contrast; "Romeo: Is love a
tender thing? Is it too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks
like a thorn." In reply Mercutio says "If love be rough with you, be
rough with love…" (Act 1 Scene 4). He accomplishes this with his bawdy
innuendo and the way he treats love, as if he were a thorn in his
spine. All in all it is Mercutio's destructive behaviour that urges
Romeo to go to the ball to seek Rosaline. It is here that he discovers
his one true love, Juliet, who he marries, and in the latter part of
Mercutio's death says that her love has made him soft; "O sweet
Juliet, Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, and in my temper soften'd
bravery valour's steel." This shows that Romeo makes the accusation
against his marriage with Juliet, and that her...

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