In Act 3 Scene 1 Mercutio picks a fight with Tybalt, who wants to fight Romeo instead. Romeo tries to prevent the fight but Mercutio is killed. Romeo then kills Tybalt in anger, and then escapes. Prince Escalus banishes Romeo from Verona.
This scene is significant as it marks the final appearance of Mercutio. It is the point of overturn which sets the division between the two houses. It is appropriate at this point that that it should start with references to heat and passion.
This gives us a strong sense of rivalry which makes us want to know what happens next.
After the death of Mercutio, our attention is concentrated only on Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare usually has another plot to continue after the closing of a chapter. Romeo and Juliet has no subplot and the simple and clear storyline which results gives the play a relentless feeling.
The character of Mercutio develops individually throughout the play. His role as Romeo’s friend could have been played by a less striking person.
Although his death is a major part to the play, the same effect could have been achieved by simply killing Tybalt. Mercutio’s character can is very strong, he has wit, bawdy language, cynicism and mostly of all his devotion and loyalty to his friend, Romeo makes him a very complex character.
Mercutio can be interpreted very differently but still have a very strong and good effect on the play. Mercutio can be a stylish, lively personality, friendly character or can be foul mouthed who is taken over by a dislike for other people and himself.
In the film versions of the play, Mercutio is conveyed very differently in Zeferelli’s than Luhrmann’s. In Zeferelli’s version Mercutio is shown as a simple character that is fun, friendly and could be a good laugh, he is shown as a person who is very good to the people he likes but awful to the people he dislikes. He takes is very serious about the ‘enemy’. In Luhrmann’s interpretation of the play Mercutio is conveyed as a very loud and lively person with strong emotions both ways. His clothes show a lot about his character which in Luhrmann’s his brightly coloured clothes and velvety material. Mercutio jumps around a lot and when he gives an opinion it is very emotive with a strong ‘Yes or No’ answer.
In the scene Mercutio shows no sign of caution, the main part of his character development starts here in this scene. Benvolio is advising Mercutio to be careful. Not taking this advice is showing that Mercutio does not care what happens he has his strong views of Tybalt and will do what needs to be done, but first stands up to them insulting them with a carefree attitude.
‘Couple it with something; make it a word and a blow’
In this quotation Mercutio is using fighting talk and shows that he is not scared. This leads into them quarrelling. This is showing that Mercutio is standing up for his friend and will fight for his friend instead of Romeo getting involved this shows the strength to which Mercutio holds his friends and likewise his enemies.
Romeo then does not wish to fight with Tybalt; this causes Mercutio to feel disgusted that Romeo is submitting to Tybalt’s insults. This shows that Mercutio is in the dark as he does not know the full story but still continues with his string nature to fight Tybalt.
Directing the Scene
If I was directing Mercutio on television I would take into account many different aspects. These would be, surroundings – the area that the scene would be situated. The lighting – how the lighting would be used, to portray different emotions about the scene. The clothes – how they would be dressed to give different impressions about their character and personality and the music – what music I would use at different times, to portray mood, emotion and general feeling about what is happening.
If I was directing this play for television viewing, I would set the background and area for the scene as in the diagram above. There would be a corridor at the top in between two walls. This would give an intense symbolism that the character that enters from there would be separated and in the middle of the conflict. The crossroads add to this effect by having the two people fighting starting at each end. This gives an even greater effect that the person entering towards (a) is ‘in the middle’.
To start the scene I would have Mercutio at (M) talking to his friends who would be situated on the grass at (e). They would be laughing and joking creating a friendly happy atmosphere. Tybalt would then enter from the other side (T). The script would then continue and they would move closer towards each other as their argument increased. When they are nearly together, Romeo enters from (R) and runs towards (a). He will then be directly in-between them both. This will give a strong sense of him being in the middle had show his emotions as he will not know what to do because he loves Juliet who belongs to Tybalt’s side, but he doesn’t want to desert his own friends and family.
Tybalt’s friends will be standing at (f). The script continues where Romeo will not fight, Romeo stands back from (a) to (R). Tybalt and Mercutio fight and Mercutio gets killed, Romeo gets angry and chases Tybalt who is running towards (d). Romeo chases him and kills him at (d). Romeo breaks down and cries here.
The lighting is very important when directing a play on television to make sure it gives an optimum effect and portrays the emotions accurately.
At (R) I would have a very dim light symbolising lies, and deceit and not really knowing what is going on. This is where Romeo enters as Romeo is keep things hidden.
At (M) it would be bright, sunny and warm, Red colours and yellow colours symbolising this would give a good effect to the idea of the being good and keeping no secrets, being themselves.
When Tybalt enters at (T), the area will go dark, and some very dim lights would appear, this would show his anger and his fury as he enters, his face would be lit up with a very bright light but this would be all. The contrast of this would look very good and would be very effective.
When the fight scene starts the lighting could both be dark and could have strobe lighting to show the great conflict between them.
When Romeo kills Tybalt there could be a great flash of lightning and the lights could fade off Tybalt leaving him in darkness and dim lights on Romeo crying.
At (e) and (f) there could be lights on both sides’ friends as they watch in dismay. This would show how much everyone is divided and how much they hate each other enough to kill this much.
Throughout the play the lighting plays a big part in the production of the scenes. The correct lighting is essential for the right emotional, physical and mental effects that a re portrayed to the audience when watching a scene.
The different types of lighting and colours, the halogen lights are used for specifically selecting something for example Romeo’s face. The different colours would add greatly to the effect of portraying the different moods that are tying to be created in each scene.
The lighting changes dramatically throughout the play, at the start Romeo is sad and depressed and Romeo seeks out darkness. At the end of the play the blackness of the tomb and night outside emphasise the sadness and the tragedy of the lover’s deaths.
The light and paleness only appear in conjunction with their love and passion for each other. Often the images of light and dark appear in conjunction with images to do with eyes, looking, sight and seeing.
Wealthy middle class people would often give their servants old clothes that they didn’t want to wear any more, or would leave their clothes to the servants when they died. Since clothing was very expensive, people wore it as long as possible and passed it on from one person to another without being ashamed of wearing hand-me-downs. However, since servants were of a lower class than their employers, they weren’t allowed to wear rich fabrics. A rich nobleman or a king would wear a gown of velvet, with real fur trim; if he wore a doublet, it might have gold embroidery. Everybody would have had hats, gloves, ruffs (an elaborate collar), stockings, and shoes equally elaborate. Lower class people in the play would wear rags, no shoes or hats, Middle class would however wear elaborate shoes and jacket and equally with the trousers.
Romeo would be seen to wear something of from a middle class society, dressed well and took some pride in what he wears, I would dress him in a red velvet jacket with a white elaborate collar and red shoes, he would look well dressed but not the best. Juliet however would be dressed well; she comes from a high class family and would be dressed in a high quality white dress with a veil to show she is pure. Mercutio would be dressed in a very different way he would be in a grass green jacket that was very elaborate with a red collar. His shoes would be pointed and he would be wearing stockings. Tybalt would be wearing darker clothes more black than any other colour and not wearing a collar. He would wear mainly this colour to show his anger throughout the play. It would portray is character to the fullest showing that he had an evil side to him.
The picture below shows what some of the clothes were worn in Shakespeare times.
The music in the scene is also very important in portraying emotion and general feeling. At the start of the scene it would be light music but mainly concentrating on the characters happy feeling. When Tybalt enters, the music would change to a more solemn tone and get deeper as Tybalt raises his voice and the fight scene starts. When the fight scene starts and Romeo enters the music would pause symbolising everyone gathering their thoughts on what to do. When everyone is involved the music would mainly be load symbolising the immense conflict and I would choose music which had crashing and loud noises in it.