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Mercutio

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.8 
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Although the story of Romeo and Juliet does not focus on Mercutio, to many, he is one of

the most interesting characters in literature.   His name puns on the word mercurial which means

unpredictably changeable.   His unsteady behavior makes him wise beyond his intentions.   A

recurring trend in Shakespeare’s plays is the existence of a witty fool and many foolish wits.

People such as Romeo, Friar Laurence, and Capulet are people who are made out to be wise, but,

in the end, they make all the wrong decisions.   Mercutio serves as a foil to all these characters.

He is considered by every character in the play to be a fool, but, in the long run, he is the one who

is the wisest.  

He brings a sense of comic relief as well as a reality check to many of the character’s in

the play.   Although he can be seen as a laughable youth, his character serves to show how many

of the so-called wiser characters are actually fools.

The audience is first introduced to Mercutio in Act one, Scene two .   Romeo speaks of

having a dream and believing it to be true.   This leads Mercutio to his famous Queen Mab speech.

When he breaks down after his speech, Romeo states, “Thou Talk’st of nothing (I.iv. 96).”

Mercutio responds with his first wise quote, “True, I talk of dreams, Which are the children of an

idle brain (I.iv. 97-98).”   This comment does not refer to Romeo’s dream of love alone.   Friar

Laurence’s dream of peace in Verona proves false.   In Act two, Scene four ,when the nurse

appears in her gaudy attire acting as if she is the owner of the Capulet’s servant Peter, it is

Mercutio that churlishly reminds her that she is of the servant class as well.   Mercutio’s comment

provides an alternative view of reality in the play.   A view that is one of common sense, not

impetuosity.

Every character in this play has been blinded by a curtain of...

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