Haste and Disregard in Romeo and Juliet

Topics: Romeo and Juliet, Characters in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio Pages: 5 (831 words) Published: May 30, 2012
Haste and Disregard in Romeo and Juliet

Kevin Anderson

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Shakespeare was one of the Elizabethan era’s greatest playwrights. Some of his plays

were very tragic. An example of this is Romeo and Juliet. In the play, haste has a large

role in the tragic outcome of some of the main personalities. Many of the main characters

in the play are guilty of disregarding long term consequences and acting out of haste,

leading to their untimely demise. Examples of these characters are Juliet, Mercutio, and


In the play, Juliet is young and incidentally remains so forever. Her age however cannot

cover up the faults she makes which eventually leads to her tragic death. During the

balcony scene she says “My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words” (Shakespeare

2,1,101). This is significant because Juliet and Romeo are discussing their love for each

other and Juliet says that she is in love with Romeo after less than 100 words from him

and also despite the possible consequences from her parents because of Romeo’s lineage.

In addition to the other quote there is another which expresses Juliet’s disregard of long

term consequences, “And in this rage with some kinsmen’s bone, As with a club, dash

out my desp’rate brains?”(4,3,52-53). This instance represents Juliet’s disregard very

well because she knows Romeo will come to get her but she thinks that she will be so

terrified that she will kill herself instead of just waiting for Romeo’s rescue. My third

example is how Juliet marries Romeo a mere day after meeting him. This not only shows

haste but also disregard for consequences because she knows her parents would forbid it

and she hadn’t even heard 100 words from Romeo’s mouth. Juliet is in no way a

perfect character and this is especially prominent in her personality and specifically her

disregard of consequences.

In many instances Tybalt is referred to as fiery, in some of these instances Mercutio acts

as the spark which lights Tybalt and burns them both up. The first piece of evidence for

this is that Mercutio’s name comes from the element mercury. When added to certain

substances mercury can be very reactive which also shows in Mercutio’s personality,

specifically his haste. The second example of haste for Mercutio occurs in scene 2 act 3

when he accepts the challenge from Tybalt for Romeo. This is extremely important to the

tragic outcome of the plot because if Mercutio hadn’t accepted the challenge on behalf of

Romeo he wouldn’t have died as a result, preventing all the calamity that occurs as a

result. The last example of disregard and haste is a quote: “Will you pluck your sword out

of his pitcher by the ears? Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out.”(

III,I,77-79). This quote shows that haste is not only presented with a meaning related to

haste but also violence, the reason this is relevant to disregard is because Mercutio knows

Tybalt has a short temper yet he provokes him nonetheless. Ultimately, Mercutio brought

his death upon himself through hasty decisions and disregard which is very surprising

because although seeming like a foil at first he turns out to be very wise in many ways. In

some ways even more so than Romeo.

Being in the title of a tragedy one would expect that Romeo will be a part of said

tragedy and Romeo in fact finds himself right at the center of it. The first piece of

evidence to present is that Romeo changes his love almost instantly from Rosaline to

Juliet. This shows that even in love he is a hasty decision maker. The second piece of

evidence is that although he knows of the consequence he must go and pick a fight with

Tybalt to avenge Mercutio. This shows his disregard for consequence because Romeo...
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