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Romeo And Juliet, By William Shakespeare

1190 words - 5 pages

As one of the most complex characters in the play, Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio’s purpose is to act as a static catalyst for the death of most of the characters. Shakespeare uses Mercutio’s character cleverly as the kind of character that stays in the background, but influences the rest of the cast in the utmost amount. Mercutio’s light and occasionally sardonic humor at inapt times relieves the play from being a complete tragedy and allows the audience a false sense of security before calamity strikes, such as the death of his character. Mercutio also stands as a consistent character to prove that despite the fact that the majority of Shakespeare’s characters are unpredictable and impulsive, there has to be at least one character to steady the rest of the characters. Mercutio’s purpose in the play is to be a static character and act as a catalyst for the eventual death of Romeo and Juliet.
Mercutio acts as a flat character in the play unlike the other characters who end up developing through experience. Mercutio consistently attempts to guide Romeo in the direction that is not only beneficial but more so in favor to Romeo as well. During his first appearance in an effort to encourage Romeo to dance—also in an attempt to cheer him up—Mercutio demonstrates such with the words, “Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance (1.4.13)”. At first sight Mercutio is already directing Romeo to the advantageous outcome. His words are simple but they hold great meaning and reveal how much he cares for Romeo. His one sentence has an underlying meaning of wanting Romeo to overcome his current infatuation rather than merely wanting him to dance. At the scene directly prior to Mercutio’s death, he continues to show his unchanging behavior by defending and protecting Romeo once again. When he retaliates to Benvolio’s mention of the arrival of the Capulets, he says, “By my heel, I care not (3.1.36)”. Mercutio, while in neither of the houses, dislikes Tybalt. While it may have something to do with the fact that Romeo dislikes Tybalt as well, Mercutio—without reason to—still stands faithfully by Romeo’s side and closer to the house of Montague. From his first entrance, and his last exit, Mercutio stays a stable character by being a constant right hand man to Romeo.
Mercutio’s death works as a catalyst for the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. From the moment that Mercutio is stabbed by Tybalt, the actual tragedy aspect of the play begins. Up to Mercutio’s death, the play follows a rather light-hearted, dramatized tone, but once his death plays out, the plot turns to focus on the misfortunes of the rest of the characters. Following Mercutio’s death, Romeo hints at the disasters to come by saying, “This day’s black fate on more days doth depend. This but begins the woe others must end (3.1.124-125)”. Moments after Mercutio’s death, Romeo is already aware of what troubles will arise. As Mercutio is held as Romeo’s stability, Romeo knows that something will begin from the...

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