Iris Orozco on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act 3

Published by admin_main on Mon 18 Oct, 2010

4. In Act 3, Scene 1, Tybalt mortally wounds Mercutio. How does this deed unfold -- what part does Romeo play in Mercutio's death? What parting wisdom does Mercutio offer as he dies? Also, how does the Prince deal with this latest outbreak of factional violence in Verona? Does his sentence seem wise, or unwise? Explain your rationale.

Tybalt goes out into the streets of Verona hoping to slay Romeo after Romeo disrespected the Capulets by attending their exclusive celebration where no Montague was permitted. After being forced to restrain his rage by Sir Capulet, so as to not make a scene, he seeks revenge onto Romeo. Once he stumbles onto the Montague gang, he realizes that Romeo is nowhere to be found. Instead, Mercutio begins instigating a fight amongst themselves. That very second, Romeo, still love-stricken from his marriage, strolls into the argument. Tybalt insults and disrespects Romeo by calling him a villain hoping to quarrel with him. Romeo admits that he'd be enraged by his insult hadn't he been in love with Tybalt in an indirect manner. In Act 3, Scene 1 Romeo states, "I love thee better than thou canst devise, till thou shalt know the reason of my love". Romeo means to say this because he is in love and married to Juliet, who carries the same family name as Tybalt; therefore, Romeo is Tybalt's family, without him knowing it yet, and shares an indirect fondness to him. In other words, Romeo is saying, "I do not wish to fight". Mercutio is all worked up and decides to take Romeo's spot and finish Tybalt off. Romeo, being the softy as usual, steps in to stop the fight. Tybalt takes that moment of distraction to throw a cheap shot and slide his sword from underneath Romeo and into Mercutio. As Mercutio falls to his death, Tybalt flees from the scene, like any original gangster would. Mercutio stepped in place for Romeo and sacrificed his life for a stubborn cause. Mercutio states, "I am hurt. A plague o'both your houses! I am sped." He ultimately curses both his own and the Capulet's family because he realizes how foolish both families are to have lives such as his end for the sake of the mere pride. Tybalt returns to find Romeo livid from the murder of Mercutio. Romeo finishes the deed by seeking revenge and killing Tybalt. The Prince arrives to find Romeo missing, but feels the pressure from Tybalt's family who ask for justice. The Prince sentences Romeo to banishment from Verona, and if he is to be found the death sentence is to be forced onto him. The sentence the Prince imposes onto Romeo seems very fair since Romeo has become a huge liability and risk to keep within the city walls. The Prince mentions, "Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill". The Prince is attempting to avoid any more deaths within the city to keep the peace so he finds it best to banish Romeo, a murderer. Romeo reacts by stating, "There is no world without Verona walls But purgatory, torture, hell itself. Hence 'banished' is banished form the world And world's exile is death." Romeo argues that banishment is even worst than death because you are not alive unless you are near those you love, and in Romeo's case it's Juliet.

18. In Act 3, Scenes 4-5, what expectations do Juliet's parents (her father in particular) have for her? What might account for her father's harsh words and threats, both in the most obvious sense and at a deeper psychological level?

Juliet carries a very big burden on her shoulder having been the only child to her parents. This means that they have no room for error in raising their daughter. This is their prized possession, and the future to their family. She carries a burden of high expectations. With that, she also brings along the wealth of her family to whomever she decides to marry. The reader is able to notice how the father is truly concerned and invested in his daughter's wellbeing. When Paris asks for her hand in marriage in Act 1, Scene 2, Capulet offers his own terms instead. Juliet's father feels as if Juliet is still too young to marry, being thirteen years old. Although Paris attempts to convince him by saying that many other girls are already married and have children at a younger age, Capulet argues that he'd rather let Juliet enjoy two summer's before she is to be married to Paris. Capulet adds that, "And too soon marred are those so early made". He adds that women lose their youth quickly once settled into a family and wants Juliet to enjoy this time she has before she gives herself to Paris. This demonstrates a concern for a daughter that any father of our day would have.

When the times arrives, Juliet's parents propose to wed her to Paris the following Thursday after Tybalt's death. When Juliet is told of her future, she is mortified. She pleads to delay the wedding, whereas her father finds her ungrateful. Sir Capulet says, "God's bread! It makes me mad. Day, night, hour, tide, time, work, play, alone, in company, still my care hath been to have her matched. And having now provided a gentlemen of noble parentage, of fair demesnes, youthful, and nobly trained, stuffed, as they say, with honorable parts, proportioned as one's thought would wish a man -- and then to have a wretched pulling fool, a whining mammet, in her fortune's tender, to answer 'I'll not wed'". Her father is as mortified as he, having gone through the trouble to set up an excellent man to be her husband, has wasted his time. Although he vents out his anger towards her, he is enraged by how foolish she is to be denying such a great match that he handpicked for her. She is blind to what her father wants for her, and one can only assume that he'd feel the same if he knew whom she had lined up for her husband. Like any father of our day, one would want nothing but the best for their daughter, and Capulet is no exception to this.


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