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Romeo and Juliet Essay

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, is a play that consisted of many parts. It had rising action, falling action, and climax, along with many other parts crucial to a good play. Woven into the drama of Shakespeare s love story, were the characters of the play. The main characters, Romeo and Juliet, took center stage in almost every act. Romeo was the son of the Montague family and Juliet was the daughter of the Capulet family. Because of the conflict between the two families, their love could never be. The families had been feuding for ages. Throughout all of the pain, love, and suffering brought to the two lovers, there was one character that provided a humorous break from all of the emotional tragedy. Mercutio, relative of the Prince and friend of Romeo, was this character.

Every once in a while Mercutio would add a little comedy to an otherwise tragic play. Between his infamous Queen Mab speech, to his dramatic fight scene, he was there providing one humorous moment after another. Even up to his death he was telling jokes. Because he was characterized by his antics, no one believed that he was really dying. The characters finally stopped joking around when Mercutio fell down dead and a fatal hole was discovered in his chest. Mercutio was Shakespeare s one comic element in a tale that was not to end happily.

Mercutio s Queen Mab speech (Act 1, scene 4) was an attempt to cheer up Romeo, because he was depressed over his unanswered love for Rosaline, the girl he wanted before he met Juliet. In this speech Mercutio tells about Queen Mab, and makes a reference to the ability of fairies to control the affairs of humans. “And in this state she gallops night by night/Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love.” Mab had the ability to control the dreams of mortals. Control of human affairs was an important theme of Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio used hidden meanings in many of the things he did. This story of control was a good example. In The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, hardly any of the characters had any control of their life. Mercutio used this speech to Mab as a metaphor for life. In many Renaissance plays the characters believed the gods and other higher powers controlled their lives, much like Queen Mab controlled their dreams.

Soon after this speech Romeo, convinced by his friends, decided to attend the Capulet party. Romeo and couple of Romeo s friends attended the Capulet dance. This is where he meet and fell in love with Juliet. He soon forgot about Rosaline and the love that he had for her. Mercutio did no understand nor agree with this new found love for Juliet. He believed that it was foolish for Romeo to fall in love so fast. “If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.” (2.1.35) This love was not meant to be. It caused more problems and led to a famous fight scene between Tybalt and Mercutio, in which Mercutio dies.

This famous part in which Mercutio played a major role was the fight scene between him and Tybalt. The phrase, “its all fun and games until someone gets hurt,” rang true. While the fight progressed the characters continuously threw insults back and fourth at one another. While Romeo tried to break up the fight, Mercutio was stabbed under his arm. Even during his last moments he made jokes, even about his own death. “No, tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but tis enough, twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” In this scene there is even the use of foreshadowing. “A plague o both your houses! They have made worms meat of me. I have it, And soundly, too. Your houses!” This statement proved to be true in the end with the deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.

Due to Romeo s great friendship with Mercutio he sought out Tybalt in vengeance for Mercutios death. Romeo described Mercutio as, “A gentleman, that loves to here himself talk and will speak more in a minute than he will stand in a month.” This was very true, but in the end he could not say enough.

An important thing to consider in this play was how it would have appealed to Shakespeare s audiences if it had lacked Mercutio s presence. This play would be completely differently had Mercutio not been written in as a character. Without his joyful outlook and poetic, clever and humorous jokes, this play would have lacked comedy. This would leave the play a dry tragedy that would do nothing but depress the audience. Shakespeare, however, was able to mix just the right amount of everything in this play. He had love, pain, loss, conflict and humor. If the humor, or more specifically, Mercutio, had not been present a whole aspect of this story would have been lost. Mercutio added a lot to this play and without him it would not have been nearly as enjoyable.


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