The small Renaissance city of Verona sets the scene where the feud

The small Renaissance city of Verona sets the scene where the feud between two households (the mighty Montagues and the all-powerful Capulets) ends in tragedy as the ill-fated star crossed lovers (whom the play is named after) kill themselves in a twisted, bitter sweet vow to each other. Although a bit extreme, the play challenges themes such as forbidden and arranged marriages, young love, suicide and exilement, this, along with Shakespeare’s beautiful use of diction makes for a rather unusual but unforgettable and unique love story. Romeo Montague, the story’s male protagonist is a hopeless romantic falling in love with one girl to the next, believing true love conquers all. Juliet Capulet, the story’s female protagonist wants nothing to do with love and marriage until her encounter with Romeo at her father’s party, falling madly in love with him. Of course, as the story’s main characters Romeo and Juliet are important, but the play’s most interesting character that deserves more recognition is Romeo’s best friend and the Prince’s nephew: Mercutio. Mercutio’s name is derived from the word “mercurial” meaning unpredictable and this cannot be more accurately said about the witty and comical character. Mercutio automatically has quite a high social rank in the play as the Prince’s nephew and as Romeo’s right hand man. As Romeo’s best friend Mercutio gives Romeo advice on his love interests, Rosaline and Juliet. However Mercutio is quite the opposite of Romeo, he pokes fun at love and is very skeptical of it, with his immediate reaction to make fun of Romeo when he declares his love for Juliet. With lines such as “If love is rough with you, be rough with love. Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down,” to provide comic relief. The only other character that provides obvious humor is the nurse, with all her dirty jokes. However, Mercutio is unarguably mad, quickly changing emotions and conflicted with himself. He breaks into sudden rants and openly expresses what he’s thinking and how he feels. Mercutio is so at a loss with himself it is easy to feel sorry for him as it may lead one to believe he has psychological problems and that no matter how burdened he is with his own problems he is still there to shine lightness on dark situations and help Romeo with his struggles. In a hasty, anger fueled duel with Tybalt, Mercutio is accidentally slain as Romeo tries to interfere and stop the two from fighting. Under Mercutio’s dying breath he passionately curses both the Montague and Capulet households which foreshadows the shocking deaths of the two protagonists. With Mercutio killed so early from the play, one has to think about why this was done. Mercutio was obviously very funny, honest, cheeky and one of the most interesting characters in the play. Was he killed off early due to the fact he might have outshone plain old Romeo? Even though Mercutio was killed early in the play he is still very much relevant, after his death and the curse he bestows on the families things only get worse and worst for Romeo and Juliet, because of this it is easy to see Mercutio’s death as the real climax of the play, making Mercutio quite honestly the most important character in the tale. Mercutio makes emotions and tensions run high in confrontation he is in.

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