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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.


[...] Mercutio perceives it as a “vile submission”, but Romeo, along with the public, perfectly knows his reasons and is the only one to act with sense in this part of the scene. After Mercutio’s exit, Romeo holds a reflexion upon the act itself, the characters and even the play, l11 to 117: he reminds us of the social network in which Mercutio was inscribed: his friends, and the Prince’s relative he reminds us of what have just taken place, the blow and its consequences (hath got this mortal hurt) and his marriage with Juliet (114-115) and he analyses his own character and actions: blames himself for Mercutio’s death my behalf”), realizes he should have fought reputation stain’d”), and thinks he acted “effeminate” not to say cowardly thus raising (by the evocation of Juliet and her beauty) the question of the incompatibility of love and manly valour, temper (here “soften’d”). [...]

[...] 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. [...]

[...] As for Mercutio and Romeo, their characters evolve. Mercutio, we saw that already, show a turnaround, from wit and comicality to bitter death. He is the first cause of the degeneration of the play in a series of disasters: Tybalt’s death, Romeo’s banishment, Juliet’s despair, the obstacles to Friar Laurent’s plan, the lovers (and Paris’ and Lady Montague’s) deaths. Nonetheless, the way he is characterized in this last appearance is not that much OOC: though wounded, he still gives out a flow of words, as if he could never be stopped, just like in his other appearances he is a relentless chatterbox. [...]

[...] /Reading/ Let us see first how Shakespeare combines traditional aspects and subtle subversion in this infamous ‘duel scene’, the key scene of his both conventional and innovative play. Then we shall get closely interested in how the importance of the scene in the economy of the play is underlined by the characters, their words and their performance on the stage. Finally, we shall show more precisely how the scene, as much as it is a turning point in the play, is a key scene for the characterization of the protagonists. [...]

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