Mercutio's Responsibility Of Tragedy In "Romeo And Juliet"

1078 words - 4 pages

"A plague on both your houses. I am sped"(III.i.90). For as long as William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" has been studied, people have argued over who or what is responsible for the tragic conclusion. However, from his first appearance to his death, quoted above, evidence proves that Mercutio is the main cause. Although he curses both the "Romeo and Juliet">Montague and Capulet families at the time of his death, his curse does no real harm. On the other hand, his actions before he is killed have a profound effect on those close to him and those effects ripple out to those even further away. Mercutio is Romeo's best friend and not a member of either of the feuding families. An examination of Mercutio's hatred for the sacrament of marriage and his views of women, his over-active imagination, and his explosive nature will clearly prove he is responsible for the tragic demise of Romeo and Juliet.Like many people in Verona, Mercutio has a distorted view of marriage, and to a greater extent, love. In fact, he says, "If love be rough with you, be rough with love: Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down"(I.iv.27-28). This shows how he feels about love; he hates it. He thinks women are merely objects of lust, and he proves this by teasing Romeo about wanting to marry Rosaline. Further proof of this can be seen in Act 2, Scene 2, when Mercutio and Benvolio tease Romeo, who is hidden on the other side of the wall, about falling in love so easily. His hatred for love and marriage can be summed up with this statement: "Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead! Stabbed with a white wench's black eye; run through the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft. And is he a man to meet Tybalt?"(II.iv.13-17). He thinks love is a disease and something that will weaken any man. Romeo knows of Mercutio's feelings due to his constant teasing: "Nay, I'll conjure too. Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover!"(II.i.7-8). As a result of this teasing, Romeo keeps his marriage secret from his best friend. He has no other reason to do so, as Mercutio is neither a Montague nor a Capulet, so he should be able to act as an unbiased friend. Unfortunately, Romeo feels that he cannot even trust Mercutio with his secret, which ultimately will lead to no one being able to help him when help is needed.On many occasions, Mercutio displays his over-active imagination. He is very open with his creativity among his friends, including Romeo. It is this unbounding creativity that causes Romeo to again keep secrets from him. Examples of his wit can be seen almost every time he opens his mouth. A prime example is the 'Queen Mab' speech, which he seemingly weaves out of thin air:Her Chariot is an empty hazelnut Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub, Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers. Her waggon-spokes of long spinners' legs; The cover of the wings of grasshoppers; Her traces, of the smallest spider web; Her collars, of...

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