Mercutio is not part of the Montague family, he is however a friend of Romeo's and related to the Prince of Verona. One would think this puts him relatively outside the family feud, but we learn that Mercutio is only all to willing to play along with this adversary, and ultimately his quick and volatile nature lead to his untimely death.
Mercutiowas first introduced to us in Act I, Scene 4; when Romeo, Benvolio and the gang are on the way to the Capulets' feast. Although it was only his first appearance, he captured immediate attention with his comments. We get the feeling that Mercutio will not stay a sideline character. He is shown joking and punning with Romeo on heaviness and lightness as well as how it relates to love. Mercutio andRomeo's friendship and obvious closeness is to be noted.
"A gentleman, Nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, and will speak more in a minute than he will stand to in a month."
That was Romeo's description of Mercutio seen in Act II, Scene 4. Indeed, Mercutio is a man of many words and his language is full of jokes, puns and sexual double meanings. To understand Mercutio fully we must firstunderstand his words, and sometimes that can be hard to as his word play is easily interpreted in more than one way. More than anyone else in the play Mercutio uses puns. To an Elizabethan this was the sign of a quick wit, to be able to see different meanings in the same word. Shakespeare knew that well and incorporated his own wit into Mercutio's character. We come to associate Mercutio withpuns and it seems almost characteristic of him to do so compulsively, even after he received his death-wound.
"Look for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man."
It is sadly ironic how Mercutio is hinting that perhaps he is facing something serious for the first time in the play, and allows the audience to sympathize for him.
Mercutio demonstrates that he is an interestingpersonality from his language, which is forceful, mature and witty. He stands in strong contrast to his immediate companions Benvolio who tends to speak rather impersonally with consideration and Romeo, whose words are mostly romantic and poetic.
Mercutio's unique personality is also demonstrated in his views and ideas which parallel those of our hero and heroine's. Shakespeare's genius was that themesin his works were always explored on both spectrums with no clear line on what is right or wrong. Love and loyalty are two of the many thematic areas explored with two sides of the story. Mercutio's character in the play is a bit of a dark horse, the side character who almost seems to present more ideas and dynamics than the main ones. When everyone is optimistic and hopeful about love Mercutiopresents his different view on it, one that is entirely focused on the physical aspect.
The very first scene Mercutio appears in he introduces what is to be his constant theme, that of the bawdy side of sex. For Shakespeare to give Mercutio who is technically a side character, such a long and opinionated speech on the dark side of a theme is something to be reckoned with; as aside the maincharacters Romeo, Juliet and perhaps the Prince, no other character is given a speech of this length. Mercutio's view on love completely overturns the idea that the story of Romeo and Juliet is an example of perfect romantic love. There is of course a purpose for this and that is to explore different aspects of a theme and keep the audience guessing.
Mercutio's relationship with Romeo is also...