Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet

Mercutio is Romeo's best friend. Mercutio likes to have a good laugh, is optimistic, loyal and a good friend. When Romeo is depressed because of his unrequited love for Rosaline, it is Mercutio that suggests they should all gate-crash the Capulet party.

Later on in the play, when Tybalt arrives to fight Romeo, Mercutio stands in for Romeo as he is loyal towards his best friend. Mercutio cannot believe that Romeo would sacrifice his honour in this way, so he fights Tybalt instead. When Tybalt stabs Mercutio and he is severely hurt, Mercutio attempts to joke by saying it is a 'scratch' but when he realises the severity of his situation, he dies cursing the two households.

How is Mercutio like this?EvidenceAnalysis
WittyMercutio makes fun of Romeo when he declares he feels sick because of the love he has for Rosaline. Mercutio ridicules Romeo's 'love' for Rosaline claiming it is false."That dreamers often lie."This is Mercutio's response after Romeo tells him he dreamt of Rosaline. Mercutio understands that Romeo's love for Rosaline isn't true and ridicules him for it, saying openly that Romeo, being the dreamer, can often lie.
LoyalMercutio is loyal when Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt, as he decides to fight Tybalt instead. This is because he cannot stand to see Romeo's honour jeopardised in the face of his enemy."Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste."This shows Mercutio taking Romeo's place to fight Tybalt. He is taunting Tybalt suggesting he is slow to get his sword ready to fight. The fact that Mercutio is telling Tybalt to 'make haste' will only taunt Tybalt further, as he is suggesting Tybalt is a coward.

Analysing the evidence

Question

From reading this extract, what are the similarities between Tybalt and Mercutio?

Mercutio
Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?
Tybalt
What wouldst thou have with me?
Mercutio
Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives. That I mean to make bold withal and, as you shall use me hereafter, dry-beat the rest of the eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears? Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.
Tybalt
I am for you.

Act 3 Scene 1

Confidence

  • They both believe they will uphold their household's honour.
  • Tybalt says 'I am for you' highlighting that he is ready for the fight.
  • Mercutio declares he wants one of Tybalt's nine lives, indicating that he believes he will win the fight.

Passionate natures

  • Mercutio says to Tybalt 'will you walk?' questioning whether Tybalt will fight with him. This is insulting, as Mercutio is questioning Tybalt's honour and integrity.
  • Both parties trade insults prior to the fight.
  • Mercutio calls Tybalt a 'rat-catcher' highlighting the cunning side of Tybalt's personality - he is ridiculing him.