About whom does Mercutio speak in Act 1 Scene IV of Romeo and Juliet?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 1 Scene IV of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio speaks of two people. First, Mercutio speaks of Romeo himself, cajoling him about being too heavy to dance at a mask ball. Romeo insists he only wants a light to bear as he cannot bear to dance. Upon Romeo mentioning he had a dream, Mercutio turns to describing a dream giver called Queen Mab.

A member of the fairy species, Queens Mab rides in a chariot across sleepers who then have draems woven from the stuff of her chariot and from the spot over which she rode. Young maidens dream of kisses when Queen Mab rides over their lips. Soldiers dream of acts of war when she rides over their necks. Clergymen dream of "benefice," meaning another gift given to the pastor for his upkeep and living. Lawyers dream of fees paid to them.

Romeo finally halts Mercutio saying "...peace! / Thou talk'st of nothing." To which Mercutio answers, "True, I talk of dreams, / Which are the children of an idle brain." So in summary, Mercutio first speaks of Romeo in Act 1 Scene IV of Romeo and Juliet, then he speaks of dreams and the dreamweaver Fairy, Queen Mab.

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Romeo and Juliet

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