In "Romeo and Juliet" Mercutio and the Nurse play important characters in Scene 2, how are they foils to main characters?Please help I'd really appreciate it

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A foil is a character that brings out a contrasting trait or characteristic in another character. First let's look at Mercutio. Mercutio is a foil to Rome in the way that they feel about love. Romeo is clearly a romantic. He falls in love with Rosaline who does not love him back and basically tells him that she will never love him. Romeo is completely heartbroken and can not go on with life, it seems. Mercutio, on the other hand, tells Romeo that there is no girl who is worth wasting his time on, and he decides that Romeo has to come with him to the Capulet's party so that he can show Romeo that there are so many other girls that he can pick from.

The Nurse foils the character of Juliet's mother, Lady Capulet. As her mother, Lady Capulet should know everything that there is about her daughter; she should know how old she is and her innermost feelings. However, Lady Capulet knows neither. Early on in Act 1, Lady Capulet is unsure of Juliet's age and the Nurse has an extended speech in which she explains to Juliet's mother how she knows how old Juliet is better than her mother does. Additionally, throughout the play, it is the Nurse that Juliet goes to for advice and assistance, not her mother.