What have you learnt about characters of Mercutio and Tybalt? As director of the play what instructions would you give to the actors undertaking the roles of Mercutio and Tybalt?
In this play “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, the characters of Tybalt and Mercutio are crucial to the outcome of the play. Tybalt, a Capulet and Mercutio, a Montague have similar characteristics; they are both take pride in honouring, respecting and protecting their households.
The essay will cover the exact importance of the characters Mercutio and Tybalt. Additionally it will focus on how a director would instruct the actors that are undertaking there role.Order now
In the play Mercutio is a good friend to Romeo and a very loyal to his family. His character in “Romeo and Juliet” is a humorous, taunting and brave character. Shakespeare chose the name Mercutio for a reason, to shoe is his name what his character is like. Has his name suggest to people at the start of the play. Mercutio comes from the word “Mercurial”, which means, eloquent (to the point), active and Changeable.
Mercutio has a lot of pride, he has a reputation to uphold in the play. This is shown mainly in one part of the play ,Act 1 Scene 1. He takes on the invitation to fight, by Tybalt, because Romeo declined.
“O calm, dishonourable vile submission! “alla stoccate” carries it away. Tybalt you rat-catcher will you walk”
Throughout the scene when Romeo declines to fight with Tybalt, because he doesn’t want to ruin his relationship with Juliet. Mercutio uses the words “alla stoccate” meaning rapier thrust which is Tybalt’s nickname. Mercutio is continuously mounting his rage until he can hold it no more. “vile submission”. Mercutio fights Tybalt because he thinks it is cowardly and dishonourable towards his house, also it will stain their reputation. He takes the fight for Romeo. He shows a lot of loyalty and respect for Romeo. To uphold his reputation he makes fun of Tybalt when he takes up the fight.
“Tybalt you rat-catcher will you walk”
Mercutio refers to him as a “rat-catcher”; he does this to take advantage of his name. In the Elizabethan times people would often refer to a cat as a “Tyb”. So he calls Tybalt a “rat-catcher” because he has the Victorian word for cat in his name. (Cat’s catch rats and mouse)
After the fight in the play again Mercutio shows his is very cautious of his reputation and what other people think about him. He keeps up his bravery and humour
“No ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door….”
Mercutio made Romeo and Benvolio think that he was alright, even though he knew he was not. He tries to show no fear of dying as in the Elizabethan times it was considered cowardly. You would also think that he was brave. In this scene, he showed no fear to his friends. In the speech he also says “a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic” he is saying a servant that plays by the rule book. In a way he is complimenting him. But also in the Elizabethan times they refer to villains as servants, he is still keeping up his reputation by having one last jab at him, calling him a servant. Another section of the play Mercutio shows his bravery. Just after Mercutio is stabbed.
“help me into some house Benvolio, or I will faint. A plague a’ both your houses! They have made worms meat of me. I have it and soundly too, your houses.”
He asks Benvolio to” help me into some house Benvolio, or I shall faint” because it was looked upon as brave in the Elizabethan times. It would stain his reputation if he fainted in front of the public. When he finds out Romeo’s lame excuse for why he wouldn’t fight he said,
“a plague a’ both your houses!”
This shows what he thinks of the two houses. He also says” they have made worms meat of me” in a way the houses have. Tybalt killed him, he will be buried and in the end he will decompose. Mercutio was really brave in this scene because he wasn’t afraid to die, he didn’t let the others know he was hurt. Also Shakespeare show another characteristic of Mercutio, humoured. Mercutio was joking about being stabbed to the point that his friends Romeo and Benvolio didn’t think he was too badly hurt. Mercutio says to Romeo
“Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch, marry, ’tis enough”
Shakespeare did this to show that the character believes that his reputation and the respect he has from other people it worth covering a fatal stab wound. So he jokes about his death, he tries to hint to Benvolio and Romeo. “ask for me tomorrow and I will be a grave man” meaning I will be in a grave tomorrow and “fetch me a surgeon” he said this sarcastically, but he really meant it. Also after the stabbing he says “i am sped” sped means done for, killed.
Again Shakespeare show his humour when he tells his story or dream of Queen Mab. Within the story he shows his a lot of imagination, but in the end how serious and over the top he can be. The start of his speech he starts of as a humorous tale, he shows he is the ring leader, everyone is listening to him. Then slowly it starts to get very serious up to the end. Mercutio get himself worked up. This relates back to his characternym, he is a mercurial person. One of the definitions is fast changing; he can easily change from one mood to another. Mercutio could become out of control, he could slip in the madness. Also Shakespeare uses imagery in Mercutio’s speech.
Another scene where William Shakespeare shows Mercutio’s humour and leadership, is when Juliet’s Nurse “desire some confidence” with Romeo. When the Nurse come on the scene, Mercutio starts making fun of her.
“good peter, to hide her face for her fan’s the fairer face”
He can do this because he is higher in authority than the nurse. Also to the nurse he shows Mercutio as being very taunting provoking to the nurse, in a way being a bully.
“A sail! A sail!” “farewell, ancient lady, farewell lady”
He insults the way she looks and the way she dresses, this taunts people. Taunt meaning wound, jeering or mocking them. The nurse doesn’t retaliate because of their positions. He doesn’t just taunt the Nurse, he also taunts Tybalt in act 3 scene 1. He answers back to Tybalt when he asks “to consort” with Romeo.
“consort? What do thou make us minstrels?…….”
Mercutio says “what do thou make us minstrels” meaning dose that make use hired musicians. Minstrels are hired musicians. Mercutio shows Mercutio’s dislike for Tybalt by using slang word “zounds”. “Zounds” means by Christ’s wounds it is an oath. Also the constant mocking of him.
Tybalt is the cousin to Juliet, a nephew of lord and lady Capulet and also became a relative of Romeo (When Romeo married Juliet). Neither the less he still has a hatred for the Montague’s. Tybalt has a very destructive character. He is aggressive and insulting towards others. He is very competitive, he was his revenge. Also he is very commanding towards others that are lower ranking that him. He is quite the opposite of Mercutio. His aggression shows his aggression towards different people throughout the play, in this case to Romeo.
“A villain that is hither come is spite, to scam at our solemnity this night.”
He is saying a slave as come to gate crash, spoil our party. This shows he is ready to fight anyone. He is very competitive and he finds it an insult that Romeo has come on to his grounds. In the Victorian times “solemnity” is a celebration.
Because he is a Capulet he shows a great deal of aggression towards the montages. His aggression a
The main pert for Tybalt character, to express his aggression he uses certain word techniques.
“I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montague’s and thee”
The reputation of the word “hate” shows his aggression towards the Montague’s. He uses a religious insult “I hate hell” the Elizabethans where highly religious and will have really insulter them. Also using hell and Montague’s in the same sentence in an insult towards the Montague’s. Here he is speaking in verse here. When Tybalt speaks in verse he is usually insult or commanding people.
He uses insults quiets a lot in “Romeo and Juliet”, this is one of the similarities between the two characters of Mercutio and Tybalt. They both have an insulting character. Tybalt uses insults against Benvolio and the Capulet’s. When they are getting in to a fight in Act 1 Scene 1.
“what, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death”
Tybalt is saying “why are you fighting with these servants? Fight with me.” Tybalt insults the Capulet servants by calling them “heartless hinds”. He also commands Benvolio to fight with him as if he was a servant of Tybalt’s “tune thee Benvolio, look upon thy death” he all insults Benvolio later on in the scene “have thee a coward” Tybalt is also a proswasive character. He persuaded Benvolio to fight when he was there at the beginning of the scene to make peace between the two families.
Like in this scene Shakespeare displays another characteristic of Tybalt. Tybalt is very commanding. He bosses people around, he likes to be in change and the leader. In act 1 scene 5, when Romeo and his friends are at the Capulet’s party. As Tybalt like to be in change, as soon as he see’s Romeo he says.
“Fetch me my rapier boy”
In the Elizabethan times a “rapier” is a sword. His call’s his servant a “boy” again. He calls people “boy to some he is higher in command and that he is in charge. Also he commands his servant to do this “fetch me”. Tybalt is always willing to humiliate people in front of others. An example is Romeo in this scene. Tybalt was ready to have a fight with the hold party looking and rowans the evening just to thought out and show up Romeo.
Following this fight between Tybalt and his uncle, Shakespeare shows that Tybalt can be retributive. If something doesn’t go his way then he is always looking for revenge. In this case because he wasn’t allowed to put Romeo strait then he sets himself a task to have a rematch with him at a later date.
“I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, now seem sweet, convert to bitt,rest gall.”
In the play “gall means” poison. He is using positive words, he is promising that he will get his revenge.
Mercutio had to die in the play because he was a loved character he would have made it in to a comedy. But with his death it made it in to a tragedy. Also we know how close Mercutio and Romeo are to each other, so when Mercutio dies you know that Romeo will go to looking for Tybalt to avenge Mercutio’s death. Mercutio’s character was the perfect gentleman; in the Elizabethan times they thought a perfect gentlemen was a mix of bravery and interagency or soldier slash scholar. Tybalt wasn’t the perfect gentlemen because he showed no bravery or intelligence, all he wanted was a fight. William Shakespeare added Tybalt in to the play because he needed the character, to keep the two families apart and when he dies he ensures that more deaths will follow him.
After the fight the characters Prince and Benvolio where talking about what happened. Benvolio described Tybalt character as “deaf to peace” meaning he doesn’t want anything to do with peace, he just wants to fight. Earlier on in the play Benvolio also describes him as “fiery” meaning hot-tempered, angry etc.
Mercutio is a funny, a comedy character. Then you have Benvolio who is a serious quite peaceful character. Mercutio in that play was an active lover he has no time for romance, he thinks that it is stupid. On the other hand you have Romeo who is a romantic lover.
Tybalt represents the ugliness under the surface of the divided houses. He is aggressive, vindictive, and hot tempered. In contrast to him to have Mercutio, who is laid back, funny and happy. He is the opposite. There is only one thing that all the characters have in common they are represent there pride and their reputation. When Benvolio was called a “coward” by Tybalt they started to fight because they didn’t what to rowan there reputation. When Mercutio is fighting Tybalt he is doing it to keep a clean reputation. Also this is to save Romeo’s pride because Romeo would not fight.
The characters in the play represent ether love or hate, for example Capulet’s Hate and Montague’s love, Tybalt hate and Mercutio love, Juliet hate and Romeo love. They all have there opposites in the play.
In the character there are there similarities and there are their differences, but they were all in the play for a reason. Mercutio way to add comedy in to the play and to turn the play in to a tragedy. Tybalt was to keep the two houses apart at to make certain that Romeo and Juliet will die. Benvolio was to try and keep the peace between the two houses.
In the Elizabethan times, Shakespeare had to show his characters through action, movement, and body language. Indeed the majority of Shakespeare’s ordinances were illiterate.
Act 3 scene 1 becomes a turning point in the play, as Mercutio and Tybalt die. If I was to direct Tybalt in the above scene he would enter in a strong and powerful manner, to reveal his centice of self importance.
“Follow me close, for I will speak to them. Gentlemen, good den, a word with one of you”
Tybalt uses declatives to emphasise what he is doing. I would have Tybalt ender up stage from Mercutio and Benvolio to high light his self importance. As an ordinance we know that he isn’t higher statues that Mercutio and Benvolio, however in his own mind he is. He is very egotistic, this links with his pride of looking out for the Capulet house hold.
As the scene progresses Tybalt’s aggression increases. As the director I would increase Tybalt’s volume as he says
“boy, this shall not excuse the injure that thou hast done me, therefore turn and draw.”
Adituanly Shakespeare uses enjambment which indicates a quicken in the pace, and tension in this scene. Equally by using the word “boy” Tybalt placates Romeo, much to the disgust of Mercutio.
Later on in the scene Mercutio, decides he would fight Tybalt for Romeo, he shouts
“O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!”
Shakespeare uses a oxymoron “calm, dishonourable” because an oxymoron is two work that are next to each other, but contradict each other. As director i would place Mercutio on the front, centre of the stage. He would shout his lines, so that he is the centre of attention. Then Mercutio would stare at Tybalt, to show that his is serious and meaningful. He would stare into his eyes and say,
“Tybalt you rat-catcher, will you talk”
Mercutio would say and last bit and this line slower that the first, this shows that Mercutio means business.
Soon after in the scene Mercutio is stabbed his keeps a brave face, shows no emotion, fear or pain on his face, Has he say’s,
“no, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but ’tis enough.”
Mercutio would be cupping his side where the wound is and try to straighten up. He would try to keep the pain out of his face. He would try to walk away from Romeo and Benvolio, but adds a slit limp to one side. The actor should try to show some pain but not too much. He would say his lines slowly also with a low said voice. When he says “but ’tis enough” he should trail away to a whisper. The actor should take the volume for his next line up “Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man”. This is to show his humour and so everyone can hear his joke. Maybe add a little laugh at the end of his line. He would start to should at the others; he would stare at the one his was referring to for example. “a villain, that fights by the book of arithmetic” he would stare at Tybalt and “i was hurt under your arm” he would stare at Romeo.