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Summary: the Cause of Romeo and Juliet’s Death

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“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny. Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. Here we see the most classic tale, a tale of two star crossed lovers torn apart by family mutiny. With a decree of death for anyone who chooses to disrupt the peace, our lovers find themselves in the middle of a hurricane. While the noble Paris seeks Juliet’s hand in marriage and Romeo is bent on the beautiful Rosaline, these two lovers were never a planned pair. In the eye of the storm is the unexpected charming Mercutio best friend of Romeo. The typical choice of an influential character would without a doubt be Friar Lawrence but Mercutio’s role in this tale and the death of Romeo and Juliet is surprisingly prominent. Although Mercutio acts as Romeo’s support system, his ultimate role in this tale is to deflate the thoughts of fated love throughout the play and create mutual hate for both the Montagues and Capulets. A role that ultimately killed our lovers.

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Mercutio first has an influence on the fate of our lovers by being there to both hear out and deflate Romeo’s ego-based thoughts and voice his skepticism of Romeo’s love conquests. This can first be seen as Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio consider how they, as Montagues will get into a Capulet-hosted soiree. As Romeo starts to ramble on and on about love and its glory, Mercutio being the witty friend he is, changes his statements into innuendos, talking down Romeo and his self-centered thoughts. The second example of this can be seen in Mercutio’s exclamation that since Romeo was in love he was already dead. Mercutio had always never been supportive of Romeo’s interests and that lack of support caused a rift between them. While Mercutio was a loyal friend he was also the main skeptic of our story. This skepticism and witty banter definitely made Romeo turn on his friends, and abandon their opinions for Juliet, a move that definitely did not help his survival. Even more than breaking his support system, Shakespeare gave the reader a view into Mercutio’s final hate for the Capulet and Montague family. The mutiny that ultimately killed his friend Romeo when he, out of his own selfishness, abandoned Romeo with his own death and in result left Romeo to die.

Mercutio’s second influence on the fate of Romeo and Juliet came directly from his hatred and skepticism of this “fated love” which Romeo would ramble on about. This second point ties back into that Romeo felt helpless coming to Juliet’s death and had he had a supportive friend who believed in his love for Juliet, he may have gone to that friend for help. But Mercutio’s temper assured that Romeo would not have that type of support and through impulsive decisions, he lost his best friend. Mercutio by pulling all of Romeo’s friends and support away besides Juliet, ultimately killed him by giving him no other choice than to kill himself to be with his love to avoid lonely despair. Ultimately Mercutio dies because of his temper and short fuse, his death brings great sadness and withdraws him from Romeo’s life. Without Mercutio’s short temper and unsupportive nature Romeo would have had somewhere to turn when the going got rough. Mercutio’s temper not only brought upon his death but killed his best friend in the long run.

The final reason and best reason why Mercutio was one of the main causes of Romeo and Juliet’s death is that he helped strengthen the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets and created prejudice against Romeo. By causing a street mutiny he ultimately became the reason why Romeo was sentenced to death. By letting his short temper take over and striking against Capulet Tybalt he ultimately met his doom. This fate caused Romeo someone who otherwise would have stayed out of the mutiny to avenge his friend’s death. Mercutio being selfish and acting only in his own interest was ultimately the reason for Romeo’s death. Romeo’s exile from Verona creates the final conflict that he and Juliet share and that is ultimately caused by Mercutio’s selfishness and impulsivity.

While Mercutio is no one’s first consideration as the cause of Romeo and Juliet’s death, his impulsivity and selfishness create the story’s main conflict. When walking out with Benvolio he exclaims capulets are approaching. Mercutio being the cocky blunt spoken man he is exclaims “By my heel, I care not.” Simple cocky statements like this, and Mercutio not supporting Romeo while letting his temper drive him ultimately results in Romeo’s exile from Verona. This exile separated him and Juliet and along with other reasons pushed him to die to be with his lover. Shakespeare brilliantly created Mercutio to be an allied antagonist and used him to ultimately create a rift in Romeo and Juliet’s fated love. After reading this essay if you don’t believe Mercutio to be one of the main reasons for the brutal ending of this tale ask yourself “what if Mercutio had supported Romeo?” And then ask “what if Mercutio wasn’t impulsive to the point that he exiled Romeo from his fated love?” He may be a hidden cause but this does not mean Mercutio should be overlooked.  

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