Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How would you characterize Mercutio as seen in act 2, scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

One could characterize Mercutio in act 2, scene 4 as something of a clown with a very bawdy sense of humor. He clearly doesn't take Romeo's love life seriously at all and thinks his friend's love for Rosaline is all just an infatuation. When Romeo enters the scene, Mercutio further shows his lack of seriousness by engaging in a spot of witty banter with him.

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Mercutio's sense of humor and cynicism regarding love shine through in act 2, scene 4. He mocks Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline (unaware he has now gotten involved with Juliet) and then when Romeo appears, he needles him for giving both himself and Benvolio "the slip" at the Capulet ball. He and Romeo exchange a series of bawdy puns, bantering casually about sex and women as young men normally do.

At the end of this exchange, Mercutio rejoices that Romeo is now back to acting like his normal self:

Why, is not this better now than groaning
for love? Now art thou sociable, now art thou
Romeo, now art thou what thou art, by art as well as
by nature.

However, this little bit of dialogue is ironic because it shows just how much Mercutio does not know about Romeo. He is unaware that Romeo is not back to normal; he is still in love, only this time with Juliet. Romeo never confides in either of his friends about his relationship with her either, probably because he knows how Mercutio will react:...

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