Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet book cover
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Mercutio says “a plague o’ both your houses,” what central theme of the play is he voicing?  What events before this that make this pronouncement prophetic, and why is it “death” to be loyal to either a Montague or a Capulet?

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Predetermined destiny is a major theme in the play, Romeo and Juliet. First offhand, the lovers are considered to be "star-cross'd" which means they are ill-fated from the start.   As mentioned in the prologue, "From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean"(I.I.III-IV), describes how the relationship between the Montagues and Capulets has been so volatile since the dawn of time.   Now, to discuss the events which make " a plague o'both your houses" prophetic:   this statement applies to a series of events after Mercutio's death.   In revenge, Romeo kills Tybalt in a fit of rage and realizes he has become "fortune's fool"(4.1).  ...

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