Shakespeare's Mercutio

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by hudsong1
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Shakespeare's Mercutio

A plague on both your houses!Mercutio makes the important realization that both the Capulets and Montagues are at fault. "Mercutio's dying words consist of bitter jestsbased on his mortality alternating with outburst of frustrated anger... Romeo, as well as Tybalt, is an object of Mercutio's angry outbursts and both houses are involved as agents of Mercutio's death." (Utterback 111)


Mercutio and his friend Romeo are total opposites when it comes to love. Romeo is a highly emotional and romantic lover, where Mercutio is vulgar, bitter, and pessimistic. But Mercutio is also a big jokester, and makes light of all the intense drama with crude jokes and attention seeking speeches. He provides comic relief. But many scholars also believe that Mercutio is one of the only characters in the play that has complete clarity. He acts as the audience, as an outside force, enjoining the characters to really think about their actions. "Mercutio, by contrast, has more of the philosopher in him… he can, nonetheless, step back and observe. In ways no other character in the play does, Mercutio recollects knowledge; he understands numbers and technical terms." (Palmer 548)

"Mercutio disappears by death in the third act of Romeo and Juliet after several displays of dazzling linguistic fireworks."(McArthur 35)

Works CitedFleming, William H. How to Study Shakespeare. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1898. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (23 Nov. 2014) < >.Mabillard, Amanda. Queen Mab. Shakespeare Online. 18 Sept. 2009. < >.McArthur, Herbert. "Romeo's Loquacious Friend." Shakespeare Quarterly 10.1 (1959): 35-44. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov 2014.Palmer, Daryl W. "Motion and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet." Philosophy and Literature 30.2 (2006): 540-554. Project Muse. Web. 20 Nov 2014.Porter, Joseph A. Shakespeare's Mercutio, His Histoy and Drama. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolia Press, 1988. Print.Utterback, Raymond V. "The Death of Mercutio." Shakespeare Quarterly 24.2 (1973): 105-116. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov 2014.

Mercutio's Queen Mab speech is one of Shakespeare's most memorable and most oerformed monologues. Queen Mab was a popular myth in Elizabethan times, and Shakespeare's focus on her catapulted her into popular culture of our times as well.

Mercutio's Queen Mab speech - Romeo and Juliet (1968 film adaptation)

Queen Mab - Johann Heinrich Füssli (1814)

I should have listened to Mercutio...

"Mercutio takes shape in Shakespeare's mind as a product of, and response to, a distinctive array of social forces determining the received entities of friendship and love." (Porter 145)

"While Mercutio speaks of language or speech rather often, and mentions several specific speech acts, he performs only three speech acts explicitly, as performatives." (Porter 106)


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