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Romeo and Mercutio Essay

‘Explore the ways in which Romeo and Mercutio are presented in Act 1 Scene 4 and elsewhere in Shakespeare’s play and in the performed version.

In act 1 scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet, characters Romeo and Mercutio express different feelings that draw the reader in and shows how important the relationship between them is.

In the scene everybody is wearing masks and Mercutio and Romeo have attended the Capulet’s party. Romeo states that he will not dance at the Capulet’s feast as he loves someone who does not love him so he is not in the mood to dance and be happy but Mercutio (a close friend of Romeo) tries to convince him to dance. Mercutio then goes on to recite his speech to Romeo about Queen Mab of the fairies and how she visits your dreams.

Romeo is presented in a way that he seems like he worries whether dreams come true or if they are just made up. This makes him seem more scared than ready for anything. In Act 1 Scene 4, Romeo says that he “dreamt a dream tonight” to his friends Mercutio and Benvolio, on their way to the Capulet’s feast. He is worried whether his dream will actually become reality, saying that he fears the “vile forfeit of untimely death”. However, at the end of the play you see his dream as real life as he does eventually die before his time, because of this happening it is able to prove that Romeo may be seen a psychic.

Also in this scene you see Mercutio also express his view on dreams and desires in his Queen Mab speech. After Romeo says that he dreamt a dream, Mercutio then jumps in and says he too dreamt a dream, although he says that “dreamers often lie”. He begins to describe Queen Mab, a fairy that brings fantasies to dreams. The speech begins very imaginative and unusual but changes nearer the end. Mercutio ends the speech saying that dreams are “children of an idle brain” and dreams are nothing but hopes. This shows Mercutio’s view on dreams and desires, which is that they are demeaning and undignified in comparison to Romeo’s view who see them quite real and true.

This scene also shows how sensitive and depressed Romeo’s character really is. Romeo talks about how uncomfortable being in love is making him feel “Under love’s heavy burden do I sink”. This is saying that Romeo sinks because of the strong and heavy weight of love. You can tell from this that Romeo is not enjoying being in love and at the beginning Rosaline does not love him and how sad this makes him feel – so the audience is being prepared for the meeting of Juliet and Romeo. Romeo is extremely depressed and does intend to dance or be merry, which is the reason that his good friend Mercutio tries to stop Romeo from feeling this way.

Romeo and Mercutio’s relationship in the play in very important to the plot of Romeo and Juliet, for starters, Mercutio is the one who convinces Romeo to attend the Capulet’s feast and this is where Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time. No matter how reluctant to going Romeo was Mercutio was able to get Romeo to agree to go. Without Mercutio the couple would never of met and the play or Romeo and Juliet would not be able to unfold in the way it does. Another reason is because of Mercutios death it sets off event which then lead to the banishment of Romeo which then draws Romeo and Juliet together again.

Not only is there comparison between parts of the actual play and film but there are differences with how they are both performed. A main comparison is that in a play text the focus is on what is spoken and it is then up to the imagination to build on a character. Whereas in a film text the focus is on how the characters look and the colours they are wearing because this can symbolise what the characters are like emotions. Another large difference is, in the play the language that is used creates different moods, whether it be poetic, longs or short sentences they all create various emotions – for example a short sentence may be trying to build tension between the characters. However, in the film, the camera shots affect how the characters feelings are put across to the viewer. Close ups are intended to show tension whereas longer shorts may be to show peace between the characters. This shows that there are infact many differences between the time in which Shakespeare, the performed version was set and shown on stage and Shakespeare the filmed version was shown through the camera.

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