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Commentary of English litterature class upon Act III scene 1 from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. This is the duel scene between Tybalt and Mercutio and their death.


[...] Romeo and Juliet III1 Mercutio’s last scene, the first scene of Act III of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a key scene in the economy of the play. Indeed, situated at the middle of it, it has a pivotal role: everything deteriorates, gets out of hand, after Mercutio’s death in this scene, and Tybalt’s. Benvolio and Mercutio are the first ones on stage, talking randomly but talking of quarrel in a hot and heavy atmosphere, and the quarrel effectively approaches, embodied by Tybalt (and his men) looking for Romeo, a direct echo to his promise to get revenge after he spotted him in his uncle’s house during the ball, little before the lovers’ encounter and sonnet direct echo because there is no other appearance of Tybalt between these two scenes. [...]

[...] Not only Romeo is crossed” and “fortune’s fool”. All the characters are at the playwright’s mercy, to serve a theatrical crisis, to make the play move forward or to bring it to its end and this precise scene is the beginning of the end of Romeo and Juliet. [...]

[...] They seem to speak at cross purposes. Three duelists are one too many the question is, which one? Is it Mercutio, taking the fight intended for Romeo? Is it Romeo, who tries to stop the duel and ends up being exactly at the wrong place at the wrong moment? Or is Tybalt a fake duelist, unable to pick his adversary, and causing friends to be opposed? By this I refer to Mercutio’s rather violent comments: l72, l104 + a plague x2 The playwright is here is the most crucial scene of the play, and he plays: to complete this confusion, Mercutio keeps quibbling till his end is very near, and the characters perform unruly comings and goings: Romeo, the latest to arrive, and the one who did not want the fight, finds himself alone on the stage at one point (l111 to 117), as if responsible for the whole disaster, before Benvolio and then Tybalt gone God knows where 30 lines before come back in turn . [...]

[...] This is illustrated by the acting. The character’s tone can only be imagined as quite violent, because the characters themselves are not static, they are agitated, moving around the stage to fight. The scene is nothing intimate: all of the characters occupy the whole surface of the stage and speak loudly, to fill the space with a heavy and dangerous atmosphere, displaying the hatred widely, and in broad daylight it is worth noting that, just like the first scene, this heinous fighting scene happens during the day, whereas the greatest and sweetest love scenes take place at night. [...]

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