To what extent is Mercutio responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The answer to this question is subject to the feelings and thoughts of individual audience members or readers. You are certainly welcome to argue that Mercutio should share some of the blame for the eventual deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. A person could argue that had Mercutio not fought Tybalt, he wouldn't have died. If Mercutio didn't die, then Romeo wouldn't kill Tybalt for revenge. If Romeo didn't kill Tybalt, then Romeo wouldn't be banished and cause events to spiral out of control. Personally, I don't agree with that reasoning. If Mercutio is partly to blame, then I also think it is appropriate to blame the weather. If the weather wasn't hot, Mercutio wouldn't have been stirring for a fight.

The day is hot, the Capulets abroad.
And if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl,

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akpeck71 | Student

I believe both were very responsible. The nurse facilitated Juliet getting out of the house and the friar did not get to Romeo in time to tell him that Juliet was not, in fact, dead, but would awake some time later.

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