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

2645 words - 11 pages

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

In 'Romeo and Juliet' Mercutio is the faithful friend of Romeo. His
death comes as a huge shock to the audience, in Act three, Scene one,
when he is brutally murdered by Tybalt, the violent cousin of Juliet.
To understand the rest of the statement, one also has to look at the
difference between a comedy and a tragedy. Shakespeare's plays can be
separated into three different categories, the comedy, tragedy and the
history. The comedy included amusing characters, with a familiar style
of writing, humorous incidents and most importantly a happy ending. In
contrast, the tragedy used serious or unhappy characters, a more
serious, unnatural style of language, terrible and sad incidents and a
sorrowful and sometimes horrific ending to the plot. In 'Romeo and
Juliet' there are both comical and tragic moments and characters,
however the play most definitely ends tragically.

Before Mercutio's death, in Acts one and two there are many cases of
comedy. In Act one, Sampson and Gregory, joke with puns and
innuendoes. These jokes, like ''Tis well thou art not fish; if thou
hadst, thou hadst been poor-John,' were necessary as although the play
was a tragedy, comedy was needed so that the play did not become
boring or too depressing for the expectant Elizabethan audience. The
puns and innuendoes of the first scene are also necessary to attract
the often rowdy audience's attention.

The next comical scene includes the Nurse, in Act one, Scene three.
This part is humorous because the Nurse is embarrassing Juliet, by
talking about her childhood, she even talks of weaning her, '…for I
had then laid wormwood to my dug…' This first introduction of the
Nurse tells us a lot about what she is like. After being simply asked
to confirm the age of Juliet, she continues to talk and reminisce for
over thirty-two lines. 'Even or odd, of all days in the year… And,
pretty fool it stinted and said 'Ay.'' Speaking for so long and in
such an embarrassing manner in front of Juliet is very amusing and as
she continues we see how she is eccentric and loud. This part of the
play is to introduce us to the Nurse so we can learn about her
character and see how confident she is. In Act two, Scene four the
Nurse provides much more laughter when she is ignorant to Mercutio's
teasing her, '…what saucy merchant was this that was so full of his
ropery?' and the comedy continues through to scene five when she
prolongs Juliet's agony of not knowing what Romeo says. This scene is
amusing as we see Juliet desperate to find out what happened, 'Come,
what says Romeo?' which is important as we can see how in love with
Romeo she is. Meanwhile the Nurse teases her by not answering and
complaining, 'Fie, how my bones ache!' From this the audience forget
again about...

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