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What does Mercutio say about the Nurse in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (II.iv)?  I...

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yellek | Salutatorian

Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:04 PM via web

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What does Mercutio say about the Nurse in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (II.iv)?  

I know he corrects her about the time of day and that he thinks she is overdressed.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:25 PM (Answer #1)

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Mercutio is a sarcastic teenager who seems to have no filter when it comes to mocking people verbally. When the nurse enters the scene, Mercutio and Romeo had just been having a game of wits, so Mercutio is primed and ready to deliver more. First, Mercutio announces that the nurse and Peter are coming by calling them "sails," alluding to their girth no doubt. But then the nurse asks for her fan and Mercutio jumps to say that the fan would be used well to hide the nurse's ugly face. In fact, he says that the fan is prettier than she is (II.iv.94). He does correct the use of time because he says "Good den" to her which means "good afternoon." All she asks is if it is already past noon and he responds by saying that the clock's hand is "bawdy," which means "naughty." He is not showing true respect for her gender or age. Near the end of this, before the nurse speaks with Romeo alone, Mercutio calls the nurse a harlot, a streetwalker, and ancient (old).

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