Mercutio of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Mercutio of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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 meansunpredictably changeable. His unsteady behavior makes him wise beyond his intentions. Arecurring 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 whois the wisest.

He brings a sense of comic relief as well as a reality check to many of the character’s inthe play. Although he can be seen as a laughable youth, his character serves to show how manyof 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 anidle 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 nurseappears in her gaudy attire acting as if she is the owner of the Capulet’s servant Peter, it isMercutio that churlishly reminds her that she is of the servant class as well. Mercutio’s commentprovides an alternative view of real...

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... again, according to Mercutio, there is no such thing as fortune. There is the outcome of one’s actions. Romeo is unknowingly calling himself a fool for his own careless judgment.

Shakespeare is loved for his story lines, but he is respected for the characters he has

created. It is ironic how in Romeo and Juliet characters such as Capulet, Romeo, and Friar Laurence are made out to be wise but in actuality make bad judgment. It is also ironic that Mercutio is depicted as a childish youth when really he is the character with the most insight.

Shakespeare uses Mercutio’s insight as a contrast to every other character to show how ridiculous the other characters actually are. If you pay attention to the plots and story lines, this play is a love story. If you understand Mercutio’s purpose, then this play is one of the greatest satires on human emotions ever made.
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