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The Significance Of Mercutio In William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

3024 words - 12 pages

The Significance of Mercutio in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is about two lovers whose families are at war and how
the two overcome the family feud for their love for each other.
Mercutio is one of the central characters in the play; he is one of
the prince's kinsmen and is best friend to Romeo of the Montague
household. The name Mercutio is derived for the word mercurial which
means eloquent, active and changeable; Mercutio is all three because
through out the play he changes his mood from a light-hearted joking
to fiery insults in a short time. Mercutio is very persistent and is
always ready to do things which again show the relevance of his name
because of his activity. Mercutio is also very eloquent using a very
good choice of words to humiliate the target for instance he uses an
oxymoron to insult Tybalt by calling him "the very butcher of a silk
button", when saying this Mercutio uses the vicious word "butcher" and
then contradicts it with a very delicate and soft word of "silk
button" thus suggesting he is very effeminate and that he is better at
sewing than fighting. Mercutio has many major impacts on the play and
the characters, for example, Mercutio influences Romeo greatly and in
many ways, he also provides a lot of drama and humour to the play.
Mercutio in addition provides an alternative view of love to Romeo's
very thoughtful view, Mercutio illustrates all of the main themes of
the play as well and Mercutio is the catalyst of all of the tragic
events in the whole play. It will be those affects that I shall be
looking on.

Mercutio is a significant influence over Romeo. The most obvious
effect Mercutio has on Romeo is Mercutio's view on love. The best
example of this is in Act One Scene Four when he tries to make Romeo
forget about his unrequited love of Rosaline. Mercutio often plays on
Romeo's remarks to make a fool of Romeo's love for Rosaline, for
instance Romeo says "The game was ne'er so far, and I am done"
(I.IV.38) and Mercutio replies "Tut, dun's the mouse, the constable's
own word." (I.VI.39) Dun's the mouse is an old saying for telling
someone to be quiet thus Mercutio tells Romeo to be quiet over his
love by using this homophone.

Mercutio's influence over Romeo can also be recognised in Act Three
Scene One when Mercutio encourages Romeo to fight. When Romeo first
enters the scene Tybalt and Mercutio are already arguing and insulting
each other, but Romeo does not want to fight and is being friendly to
Tybalt even though Tybalt is insulting him; however Mercutio is
disgusted with this rejection of a fight from Romeo, which is obvious
when he says "O calm dishonourable, vile submission!" (III.I.73) This
short insult shows the reader that Mercutio is angry with Romeo for
not acting like his normal self, which could have possibly...

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