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Look up the word “mercurial”. Do you see any connection between the meaning of the...

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iamnocturnal | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM via web

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Look up the word “mercurial”. Do you see any connection between the meaning of the word and the character of Mercutio? Explain.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The main definition of mercurial fits very well with Mercutio's personality in that he is incredibly emotional and quick to change according to external circumstances and changes in his environment.  In some ways he is also fitting with the way that mercury acts as a poison as he calls for a curse upon both houses with his dying wish, something considered very powerful at the time.  This curse clearly comes to fruition with the death of both Romeo and Juliet and the terrible tragedy it represents for both families.

Mercutio acts to highlight certain things about Romeo, particularly his somewhat more careful and deliberate nature.  Though Romeo falls in love quickly, his swings in emotion take a great deal more depth and he spends more time deliberating his decisions whereas Mercutio seems to be concerned with things on a far more superficial level except in his gravest moments.

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