Mercutio's Last Words

Topics: Marriage

This essay sample on As He Dies, Mercutio Speaks The Line: “ask For Me Tomorrow, And You Shall Find Me A Grave Man.” This Is An Example Of provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.

Shakespeare, soon to become the world’s most famous playwright, was in his peak of playwriting abilities during 1593 when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. He wrote to entertain in the Rose Theatre, Bankside in London.

At that time London was a lively, highly populated place where aspiring writers and entertainers may go to claim their fortunes and in many ways still is. William Shakespeare had many rivals and obstacles to overcome and was living life on the edge.The Master of the Revels was able to shut down theatres at the strike of a pen as it was seen to be unholy to go to the theatre and many other writers also hoped for success, one of them being Christopher Marlowe.

Romeo and Juliet was Shakespeare’s first play that was exciting enough to really rival Marlowe, mainly because it includes, portrays and expresses basic and important emotions such as love, passion and violence which are still felt strongly to this day. This is one of the reasons it is studied, watched and respected in the twenty first century.Romeo and Juliet is set in sixteenth century Italy in ‘fair Verona’. The play is set around two rival high status families from which two opposing ‘star crossed lovers take their life’.

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The families are typical of high status Italian families we hear about today: always feuding, outgoing, loud, strong minded and very quick tempered. In many ways these families are the roots of the modern mafia. This intertextuality already increases the dramatic tension. Many characters are involved in the play and they stand for different binary oppositions: Benvolio is a peaceful person, “I do but keep the peace” whereas the ‘fiery’ Tybalt is a very violent and hot headed person, “what, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word”.However some characters are very similar such as Mercutio and Tybalt; they are both quick witted, volatile and both resort to violence which is shown before they meet making the audience (in sixteenth century theatre the audience were entertained most by violence and sex) excited at the prospect of the two most violent people in the play who happen to be enemies meeting; also increasing the dramatic tension. Another aspect increasing the dramatic tension is in the prologue it states “where civil blood makes civil blood unclean”. The audience will have experienced a public brawl in which no-one was killed which also resulted in a warning from the prince that anymore public fighting will result in death, “your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. This will leave the audience wondering when death will result, keeping the audience involved and anticipating this event.Another Event that increases the dramatic tension is in Act 2 scene 6 Romeo and Juliet get secretly married, “Come, come with me, and we will make short work, For by your leaves, you shall not stay alone till holy church incorporate into one.”, creating dramatic irony as only us, Romeo, Juliet, Friar Lawrence and the Nurse know about it. This dramatic irony comes into play effectively during Act 3 scene 1 when Tybalt confronts Romeo.During Act 3 scene 1 Tybalt approaches the Montague and Mercutio looking for Romeo. “The day is hot, the capels abroad, and if we meet shall not scape a brawl” This reinforces Benvolio’s character as cautious and peaceful and also implies a fight will happen soon once the Capulets and the Montagues meet increasing the audiences expectations of the fatal confrontation, adding to the dramatic tension. When Tybalt arrives, the atmosphere changes and Benvolio warns “By my head here comes the Capulets.” To which Mercutio replies “By my heel, I care not”, showing Mercutios quick wit and his will for a fight although perhaps not a serious retort.In the play I feel that Mercutio’s line should be spoken slowly and confidently as it is one of the key lines in the play signifying a violent challenge may arise during or soon after this scene. The mood really changes when Tybalt and Mercutio start quarrelling, starting off with Tybalt provoking Mercutio by insulting him by suggesting he is homosexual with Romeo “Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo.” Consort is an Elizabethan word meaning to keep company or to entertain. Mercutios response in my mind is very clever and quick witted as he turns the insult into a challenge to fight as he draws his sword as he describes as a “fiddlestick”, “Consort? Dost thou make us minstrels?And thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but discords. Here’s my fiddlestick, here’s that shall make you dance. ‘Zounds, consort!”. Dramatic tension is increased as the audience now fully expects a fight and may remember the princes warning. The similarities between Mercutio and Tybalt are now very clear but one difference is that Mercutio speaks in prose whereas Tybalt speaks in Poetry suggesting maybe that Tybalt is more sophisticated or Mercutio is in a mild rage unable to project his words clearly and Tybalt is more calm and confident.As Romeo enters dramatic irony adds to the ever increasing dramatic tension because the audience remembers the secret marriage between him and Tybalt’s cousin Juliet. Tybalt immediately insults Romeo and challenges him but he refuses saying “But love thee better than thou canst devise” leaving Mercutio infuriated, ” O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!”, and Tybalt confused. At this point the audience knows a fight will happen even if Romeo isn’t involved. Mercutio then challenges Tybalt and they proceed to fight; Romeo tries to split up the brawl but this results in Mercutio being wounded. Tybalt then leaves. Mercutio jokes about his injury but clearly states that it is fatal “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.” Although he is still joking while he says thiscreating some relief for the audience using the word ‘grave’ as a pun meaning both: ‘a trench dug in the ground for the burial of a corpse’ and ‘serious or sombre’. And blames Romeo repeating “A plaque a’both houses”, leaving Romeo feeling guilty and feeling as though he has to avenge Mercutios certain death. Mercutio leaves before he dies, which could be for many reasons: he is a very popular character and the audience would be annoyed to see him die or simply maybe Shakespeare wouldn’t have wanted too many bodies on stage.Dramatic tension is dramatically increased now as the audience has witnessed one death but feel as though another death will occur, seeing Romeo seeking revenge. Tybalt comes back finding Romeo challenging him showing a new side to Romeo. “This shall determine that.” They fight and eventually Romeo overcomes Tybalt and kills him. This is a totally new side to Romeo we haven’t seen yet as he has been portrayed as a gentleman and a peaceful person much like Benvolio.This is perhaps the turning point in the play as Romeo’s violent side has been exposed and leaves the audience wondering whether this is his true personality or whether it was a one off burst of rage. This turning point signifies the play is moving faster to the dramatic conclusion, building up the dramatic tension for later in the play. Romeo exclaims “O, I am fortunes fool.” before leaving. This I feel should be shouted as it truly expresses Romeo emotions and feelings at this present point in time and it signifies the involvement of fate which is mentioned before in the play.Romeo leaves just in time as the Prince arrives along with Lord Montague, Lord Capulet and their wives. The Prince decides that punishing Romeo with death would be un-necessary as enough lives have been taken already so instead he banishes Romeo from Verona but he if he returns he will be killed. “And for that offence immediately do we exile him hence.” This creates dramatic tension as it leaves the audience wondering what Romeo will do as he can either return to see Juliet and run the risk of being caught and killed or he can Stay away for Verona and not see his Juliet.During Act 3 Scene 1 the Elizabethan audience would have responded well because it was fast paced with lots of exits and entrances, violence and excitement. I personally feel that this is the most interesting and exciting scene as it unravels peoples true personalities and the dramatic tension is built up very well until two climactic fights.

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Mercutio's Last Words. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Mercutio's Last Words
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