This confrontation scene starts in a similar way to Act
1 Scene 1 with verbal sparring
This perhaps lulls the audience into a false sense of security
as it makes the deaths even more unexpected. From this
point the tragedies in the play continue - and very quickly
Benvolio says to Mercutio
"For now, these hot days, is the
mad blood stirring"
Benvolio is Romeo's cousin and is
generally a peaceful person. He wants
to go home and avoid confrontation
Mercutio is joking with with Benvolio by
describing him as someone who likes to argue-
when really he is describing himself
Romeo says "O, I am fortunes fool"
Mercutio is fatally wounded by Tybalt
Tybalt is the aggressive cousin of Juliet
Shakespeare has chosen to put
this scene directly after Romeo
and Juliet have just got married.
Why is this?
Even when Mercutio dies the audience is still left
unsure about whether he is still joking
He says "Ay, ay a scratch, a scratch, marry
tis enough. Where is my page? Go villain
fetch a surgeon"
Romeo then kills Tybalt in retaliation
He says to Tybalt just before "Either thou or
I, or both, must go with him" (meaning
This shows they are now fighting to the death
certainly not just sparring with their words
Before this he says "O sweet Juliet , Thy beauty hath made me effeminate"
This means ...
Are Mercutio and Tybalt fighting to demonstrate their skills or fighting
to kill? Does Tybalt intend to kill Mercutio or is it an accident?
Tybalt: Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo
Mercutio: Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels?
Consort has a double meaning here - a consort is someone you send in place of
yourself (this is insulting because Mercution has agreed to fight in Romeo's place
It also means a travelling musician who is low class - which is also offensive!
Tybalt wants to fight with
Romeo as he is still angry
that he went to the
Capulet's party in disguise
Romeo and tries to
provoke him into a
Romeo responds by saying "I do protest I never
injured thee, But love thee better than thou
casnt devise, Till thou shalt know the reason of
my love; And so good Capulet, which name I
tender As dearly as mine own, be satisfied!
The audience knows what Romeo is eluding to here but
Tybalt is unaware that he is now effectively related to Romeo
Contrasting theme of LOVE vs HATE
Remember - earlier in the play the the
Prince had threatened death upon anyone
who distrurbs the peace again in Verona
Because Tybalt had also committed a murder he
declares that Romeo is exiled from Verona
Mercutio takes Tybalt up on his offer of a fight
We already know from earlier in the
play that Mercutio doesn't like Tyblat