Romeo and Juliet

Scene 4 does not seem to advance the story, but it does introduce us to Mercutio, who will play an important part in the play later. How would you characterize Mercutio based on what he has said and done so far? Is he a believable character?

Act 1

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Shakespeare reveals a lot about Mercutio's character in the young man's Queen Mab speech. At first glance, the speech (and the preceding scene) paint Mercutio as a colorful, sexually-minded fellow, who prefers transient lust over committed love. However, as his speech continues, Mercutio portrays a level of intensity that Romeo lacks. Queen Mab is a rather vicious figure who forces sexuality upon women in a largely unpleasant and violent way. While he shares this story, Mercutio's tone becomes so passionate that Romeo must forcefully quieten him. This speech serves as an indication that Mercutio is a far more mature and insightful figure than his behavior immediately suggests.