The Queen Mab Monologue Spoken By Mercutio In The Romeo and Juliet Love Play

The Queen Mab monologue spoken by Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend in the play Romeo and Juliet has sparked many interpretations on the speech for it is world famous for its improvisational skills by Mercutio and its hidden messages foreshadowing the turnout of the play. Queen Mab is described at first as this whimsical fairy who is no bigger than an engraving on the stone of a ring. She creeps up to people when they are asleep and listens into their dreams.

The story is quite delightful until the monologue takes a turn for the worse and talks of how Mab puts blisters on the lips of women who dream of kisses and bangs war drums in soldiers ears to torment them. Mab all of a sudden is described as a hag who tortures innocent people out of envy. The Queen Mab monologue is one of the most famous works by Shakespeare because of the mystery of Mab and how the monologue speaks to Mercutio's complex and underrated character.

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Therefore, the Queen Mab monologue parallels to the play Romeo and Juliet’s structure, themes, and significance of Mercutio’s character. The structure of the play Romeo and Juliet starts as a romance between star crossed lovers and ends a barbarous tragedy with both the lovers dead and the city of Verona shocked. This corresponds with the Queen Mab monologue which at first is a story of a whimsical fairy and becomes a nightmare of a hag who torments innocent people. ' O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream, Which Voft the angry Mab with blisters plagues.

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' Mab herself can be interpreted as the unforgiving foundation of Verona that restrains the lovers. It is interpreted as such because Mab is cruel and stubborn which is coequal to the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. Mercutio’s character in Romeo and Juliet is hugely underrated and is seen as comic relief which it is certainly not. Mercutio firstly serves as a foil to Romeo. A character foil is supposed to highlight the characteristics of the protagonist using a secondary character. In this play, Mercutio is the foil to Romeo.

Romeo is portrayed as a romantic who is deep and meaningful with every move he makes. On the other hand, Mercutio is comical, sarcastic, and jovial. Mercutio is also a realist whilst Romeo is a dreamer. For instance, in this short conversation, we see the big differences in personality with Romeo and Mercutio. It begins with Romeo stating 'I dreamt a dream tonight.' Then Mercutio says ' And so did I.' Then, when Romeo asks what the dream was, Mercutio claims it was 'That dreamers often lie .' From there, Mercutio goes off on a tangent about Queen Mab. The quick conversation is about how Mercutio believes dreams are reflections of dreamers deepest desires while Romeo thinks dreams really do come true. Romeo's beliefs about dreams coming true are most likely what gets him dead because the overbearing thought of him and Juliet together for the rest of their life pushes him to make terrible decisions. This proves just how much a realist Mercutio is and how Romeo and Mercutio are almost polar opposites. There are many different interpretations to the Queen Mab monologue ranging from Mercutio's sexual frustration to psychological distress within himself that caused him to create this fictitious character to emulate the desolation slowly destructing his mind and to attempt to express it to his friends and simultaneously explain it to himself which is why the Queen Mab monologue is world famous.

However, what is frustrating is how Shakespeare himself doesn't explain why Mercutio feels such a way, but many connotations have risen to find a connection between the monologue and Mercutio's character. One of the many explanations the Queen Mab monologue is so very intense is Mercutio is frustrated sexually. Queen Mab is also interpreted as a hag who teaches young women to have sex. Queen Mab can also be displayed as a fictitious character to emulate Mercutio's pent up frustration with the idea of sex. This gives an idea of Mercutio having gay feelings. But of course, Shakespeare doesn't expand on Mercutio's character long enough for analysts to confirm this interpretation. A few themes in the play Romeo and Juliet are envied love, fate, and lust. These selected themes correlate with the Queen Mab monologue and Queen Mab herself. The first theme is envied love. In the monologue, Queen Mab envies women who have sex so she gives them sores and boils. Mercutio and Mab are similar in this way considering Mercutio envies Romeo's love with Juliet and wonders why he can't love in such a way. The next theme is fate. The whole outline of the monologue symbolizes the fate of the play and the two lovers. Also, Mercutio states in the monologue how dreams and desires have no meaning and is a fragile topic that corrupts minds. This highlights Mercutio's realist views. This also parallels to the star crossed lovers story which ends tragically because of big dreams for the future which led to irrational actions and a merciless death.

The thought of desires is displayed in the monologue when he talks of lawyers dreaming of money, young women dreaming of kisses, and so forth. As we see through the monologue the people who dare to desire end with terrible outcomes whether it be boils, sores, or persistent trauma all caused by Mab. The last theme presented is lust. Lust moves quickly. At first, it can be fun and adventurous but it turns to a dark place if you move too quickly. Lust is a big theme in Romeo and Juliet because just after a day the lovers get married and Romeo moves his love interest very quickly which is definitely a sign of infatuation. Lust is also described as a sexual desire which is another interpretation of the monologue because Queen Mab can be described as a whore in the Elizabethan era because both queen and mab are both words to describe sluttish women. Not to mention the monologue includes many sexual puns which is one of the reasons Mercutio ends up sweaty and fazed when Romeo interrupts him because he has some level of frustration within him about the idea of sex and covers it up with puns and wit. Overall, the Queen Mab monologue serves a much bigger purpose than just an old story of some fairy. There are many deeper meanings including foreshadowing the denouement, giving a deeper to Mercutio other than the comical secondary character, and connecting the monologue to many major themes of the play.

The Queen Mab monologue is world famous for its complexity and intense description of Queen Mab, but little do many know that the monologue stands for much greater importance than a great speech. In the end when Romeo tells Mercutio 'Thou talk' st of nothing.', we can all definitely conclude Mercutio is not just talking of nothing.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Queen Mab Monologue Spoken By Mercutio In The Romeo and Juliet Love Play. (2024, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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