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Mercutio And Romeo’S Differing Views Of Love

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In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet the character Mercutio is prosaic about love and considers it as a chase for something sexual rather than it being affection and devotion like Romeo. Mercutio fights Romeo throughout the play on what this affection truly is and shows us the cynical side of love in Romeo and Juliet. Both of these characters show throughout the play that they have completely different views on love.

Throughout the play Mercutio makes some highly sarcastic remarks about love and most of the time he does it because Romeo is so dramatic about his love for Rosaline and for Juliet. Romeo says:

“and so bound

I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe;

Under love's heavy burden do I sink.” (1.4.20-22)

Mercutio responds:

“And to sink in it you should burden love-

Too great oppression for a tender thing.” (1.4.23-24)

In this conversation between Romeo and Mercutio one can tell that Romeo is taking himself way too seriously and Mercutio is trying to point that out by telling him how to fix it. Mercutio is telling Romeo that he is letting love be an affliction when it shouldn’t be. The problem is that Mercutio doesn’t understand Romeo’s view of love and he thinks of love as sex unlike Romeo who feels that love is a burden because he cares for and has affection for a person.

Mercutio obviously thinks Romeo will be cured of the inconvenience of love by having sex (“prick love by pricking” (1.4.28)) where as all that Romeo wants is someone to love him back.

Romeo is somewhat of a daydreamer he speaks about women he’s involved with. Mercutio shows that he is a darker kind of dreamer. One can see this through Mercutio’s Queen Mab Speech. It also shows his cynical side in a very grotesque way. Unlike Romeo, Mercutio does not think that dreams can foretell upcoming events. Mercutio paints a vivid picture in his speech suggesting that the fairy Queen Mab conveys dreams to people as a consequence of men's wishes and concerns. To him people in love dream of sexual meetings and the fairies grant the wishes. This speech shows Mercutio’s views on love as well. He starts to talk about lovers and ladies lips, but then turns it into something evil:

“O’er ladies’ lips who straight on kisses dream,

Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues.” (1.4.74-75)

The beauty of the “ladies' lips” is then ensued by the picture of Mab’s lips full of sores because the women ate an abundance of candy. One may not realize how hateful Mercutio is until this speech is looked at closely. Compared to the love that Romeo and Juliet share, this rant of Mercutio’s is something quite wicked. In this speech is explaining something completely opposite of Romeo and Juliet’s idealistic love. Mercutio’s speech is so dark compared to the light and loving speech of Romeo to Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt before Mercutio’s death. It shows that Mercutio is Romeo’s friend, but could never really be his intimate friend. The way that they both fight throughout the play makes me wonder if Mercutio ever really cared about anything but his own situation and if Romeo ever cared about anything but his present or next love.




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