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Mercutio was a very strong and important character in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio had two main roles. He was not only the Prince's kinsman, but also Romeo's best friend and companion. His infamous lines and eccentric speeches live on in the hearts of all Shakespeare fans. Mercutio was portrayed as an eccentric, intelligent and loyal friend to Romeo. His language was full of sexual innuendo and allusions to legend and myth. Consider this quote from Act 2, Scene 1, "an open et caetera, thou art a paper'in pear!" This quote is full of reference to sex. Or consider this one from Act 1, Scene 4, "O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you. She is the faerie's midwife and she come in shape no bigger than an agate' s stone." Both these lines were addressed toward Romeo in hopes of sparking up his spirits. These lines are not only examples of Mercutio's vulgarity, but also of his intelligence and wit. Mercutio was also a very loyal friend to Romeo. In Act 2, Scene 4, Mercutio said, "Ah, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline. Torments him so, that he will sure run mad." So, if Mercutio was such a strong character, then why did Shakespeare kill him off? Although his death was a disappointment to "Mercutio fans," we must think as a writer and look ahead to the end of this tragedy. Perhaps it would be too difficult to have him reconcile with the Capulets after Romeo and Juliet's tragic deaths. Perhaps he was too strong a character to change his ways and make amends with his foes. Even so, with Mercutio's wit and grace, I would have enjoyed reading another of his long speeches. Alas, the fact remains that Shakespeare terminated Mercutio's character on purpose. Thankfully he was an integral part of the story bringing wit, intrigue, and humor to the stage and for that we appreciate Mercutio.
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