In Act 1 scene 4, what is revealed about Mercutio's character?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator
As Mercutio, Benvolio, Romeo and others walk to the Capulet's masquerade party in scene four of the first act, Mercutio shows himself to be a witty, high-spirited storyteller as well as a pragmatist, determined to cajole Romeo out of his sad moping for Rosaline.
 
In the opening part of the scene, Romeo says he has a "soul of lead," apparently because of his unrequited love for Rosaline, and Mercutio dismisses that sadness. In sharp contrast to drooping Romeo, Mercutio takes a robust and aggressive stand against love, advising Romeo to master and not be mastered by it. Mercutio tells Romeo:
If love be rough with you, be rough with love.
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.
He continues, after Romeo mentions a dream that makes him uneasy, to weave a lively and poetic, if cynical, story about the fairy Queen Mab, so tiny she uses an "empty hazelnut" as her coach as she rides around capriciously putting ideas into the heads of dreaming sleepers. The practical Mercutio dismisses dreams as meaningless fancies, calling them
... the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who woos
Even now the frozen bosom of the north 
Mercutio thus describes dreams as no more substantial than air, and does so by comparing dreams to the wind and the wind to a lover who "woos" the "bosom of the north," implying that love itself is no more constant than a dream.
 
Mercutio shows himself here to be a complicated character, casting his hard-headed pragmatism in the most poetic and imaginative of terms, capable of witty repartee, able to mesmerize an audience with a story and fearless in confronting and challenging his lovesick friend. 
Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During Act I scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is accompanying Romeo and a bunch of friends to the Capulet party. Romeo has just expressed concern about going to the party because he'd had a bad dream and he feels that something bad will happen if he goes.  Mercutio, in his Queen Mab speech, tries to calm Romeo's fears by saying that dreams are nothing but the creations of a fairy who "comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone" to whisper in sleepers' ears.  This shows that Mercutio does not believe in dreams, and he convinces Romeo to go to the party after all.  Mercutio is a very charismatic character who is able to be convince Romeo to go ahead and have some fun. This is the catalyst that sets the rest of the tragedy in motion because if Romeo had listened to his intuition, he would not have met Julet, and he would not have subsequently died.

phattygirl | Student

that he is romeos best friend and that he cares 4 roemo that why he took him to the masque party to find another true love