Discuss Problems faced by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet
By, Justin Hatherly 8F 27/6/07
Mercutio is a vast and interesting character. He is the most witty, intelligent and cynical of all the characters in Romeo and Juliet.
Mercutio faces problems of arrogance. He often challenges foes with his cunning, frequently outsmarting them, but he usually ends up in dangerous situations. Such as the time he was slyly insulting Tybalt, it took Tybalt a while to figure out that Mercutio was insulting him. Though the result at the end was Mercutio’s death, I feel the cause for this issue is the fact that Mercutio feels he’s better than everyone else, and more intelligent. This has made him cocky and over confident, thinking he can best any opponent with ease.
Mercutio also faces issues with friends, as he is cynical and easily puts them off. Such as the occasion he spoke the “Queen Mab”speech, taunting Romeo’s ideas of love and his former infatuation with Rosaline and his newly developed feelings for Juliet. He states that Romeo like him should view love as a conquest to fulfill ones sexual appetite. Romeo feels unhappy about his friend’s behavior, and starts to cause some tension between himself and Mercutio. Mercutio feels that he helped Romeo open his mind, while Romeo begs to differ.
There is also the issue of Mercutio being a wild free spirit, engaging in fights and reckless behavior throughout the play. He often engages in drug abuse, causing him to become so reckless he attacks many people for no reason, just as he did in the movie while at the beach. He also is extremely rude by using puns to taunt and insult people.
In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, who projects himself as a flamboyant and carefree person is really just masking his insecurities. He feels that if he is always acting like a jester or valiant than nobody will be able to see inside of him and exploit his weaknesses. Mercutio also feels that if he is the source of everyone's merriment he will be thought of as a clown and therefor less will be ...
I feel Mercutio may also face problems of character, for as he dies he exclaims “a plague on all your houses!” I find this to be quite strange, as Mercutio is a supporter of the Montaque, and he curses both houses. Could it be that Mercutio is not comfortable with taking sides, and would rather fight for his personal benefit?
As Benvolio believes Mercutio should try to seek a path of peace and to stop the feuding, however in a way Mercutio is a warmonger, trying to disrupt the peace. Though never officially addressed in the play, Mercutio puts his future in jeopardy by backing the feuding.
Mercutio is a character with many traits; he has the ability to ruin a situation, or save it. I have learnt through this assignment that Mercutio is one of the most controversial characters there is in R+J, which makes him the most interesting.