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Q: What does Mercutio add to the play?

'This gentleman, the prince's near ally, My very friend, hath got this mortal hut in my behalf, my reputation stained with Tybalt's slander' In this quote, Romeo describes Mercutio as a dear friend to him. Other than a trusted friend to Romeo, Mercutio adds to the play by his role as a foil to Romeo, a parallel to Tybalt and a source of comic relief. Ultimately, Mercutios death signifies the start of the tragedy of the play, which eventually results in the death of Romeo and Juliet.

Firstly, Mercutio is a foil to Romeo. While Romeo believes in romantic love and dreaming, Mercutio has a completely opposite idea of love, being particularly cynical about love and dreams, choosing to look only at the physical aspect of love. He enjoys teasing and mocking those in love. as seen from 'Romeo! Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover!' , which he uses ridicule the behavior of conventional lovers with their constantly changing moods. He also says, if love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. Now will he sit under the medlar tree, and wish his mistress were that kind of fruit as maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.' In this quote, he puns on the word meddle, as it was also a term for sexual intercourse, showing that he is more concerned with the physical aspect of love than the emotional aspect of it.Despite Mercutios attempts at mocking him, Romeo stays true to his own beliefs, also allowing the audience to see that Romeo is his own man, strong-minded enough not to be swayed by Mercutio.

Unlike the other characters in the play, Mercutio does not blame Fate for causing his death, instead choosing to blame the Montagues and Capulets for his innocent death, cursing them with A plague o both your houses. On the other hand, Romeo blames Fate for the misfortunes that has come between Juliet and himself as seen in Act 5 Scene 3 One writ with me in sour misfortunes book and ...And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars. Mercutios refusal to believe in something intangible like fate supports his role as a straight-talking cynic who is not blinded by illusions.

Mercutio is serves the role as a source of comic relief for the audience. His witty wordplay, sexual innuendos and mockery provides a source of entertainment for the audience. He does not make use of foolish words or actions to draw out laughter but instead uses sharp wit to entertain them. He displays his sharp wit through puns like Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. Even on the brink of death, he retains his comic character, joking about being a grave man.This makes him a highly likeable character, hence his death as an innocent party caught between the feud of the Capulet and Montague families is sad and shocking to the audience. Mercutio dies as he lived, straight-talking, loyal to friends, brave,joking, and with no illusions.

Thirdly, Mercutio acts as a parallel to Tybalt. Mercutio and Tybalt display many similar traits, such as being impulsive and quick to anger. They both also display a

strong loyalty towards the people they love, with Mercutio remaining fiercely loyal towards his friend Romeo while Tybalt is loyal towards his family, the Capulets. The quote Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied can be applied to Mercutio and Tybalt. Loyalty is a virtue, but their burning loyalty made them willing to die for their friends and family and they both did. Mercutio dies after duelling Tybalt to defend Romeos name and save his friend from being killed by Tybalt. Tybalts death is a result of him picking a fight with Romeo in order to defend his familys honour. Both characters also display the theme of haste, as seen from their reckless, irrational and impulsive actions to engage in a fight in Act 3 Scene 1. However, Mercutio and Tybalt also have some differences. Tybalt is more hateful,serious and violent while Mercutio is more playful and is simply looking for some fun.

Lastly, Mercutios death sets off a chain of events that results in the death of Romeo and Juliet. Before he dies, he asks Romeo " Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm" . This puts a direct pressure on romeo to avenge Mercutio which triggers the rest of the tragedy. Mercutio's dying words incite Romeo and his curse a plague on both your houses ring throughout the rest of the play. The death of the plays most comical character ultimately marks the end of the comedy and the start of the tragedy of the play.

In conclusion, Mercutio adds to the play by being a foil to Romeo, showing their different ideas on love and fate. Mercutio also serves as a source of comic relief with his sharp wit and a parallel to Tybalt. Mercutios death also serves the purpose of setting in motion the chain of events that caused the ultimate tragic ending of the play.