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Romeo and Juliet eNotes Curriculum Plan
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Ask students to suggest words that describe the character traits of Romeo and Mercutio. By this point in the play, students should be able to see that Romeo is a romantic and a dreamer, whereas Mercutio is decidedly unromantic and a realist with little use for the fantasies of love. The etymology of his name may reveal two elements of his personality. The root is “mercury,” a substance used to measure the temperature of an environment. Another interpretation is related to the god Mercury (or Hermes) who was famous for his quick movements and even quicker temper. While Mercutio’s “mercury” may move up and down with his moods and provocations, it is even truer that Mercutio is the hard-edged realist in the play. In Act 1, he refuses to buy into Romeo’s swooning over the loss of Rosaline, telling him the way to get over her is to “examine other beauties.”
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