What five humorous puns are delivered between Mercutio and Romeo and then Mercutio and the Nurse in Act 2 Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The entire scene is littered with humorous jokes and puns to illustrate the wit of Romeo and Mercutio. We usualyy refer to puns of a sexual nature (as many of these are)  as double entendre.

Romeo’s entrance is announced by Benvolio –

‘here comes Romeo’

and Mercutio’s repy

‘without his roe’

 is a pun on Romeo’s name saying that he is also without eggs – unproductive, emasculated and ‘fishified’.

 

Romeo devises a pun on the words courtesy and curtsy and between them they banter on the word ‘pink’ used by Mercutio to mean essence and used by Romeo as the flower related to the carnation. The purpose of their banter (as with many young men) is to question the opponent’s sexual prowess and profess their own. When Romeo says

‘is my pump well flowered’

he is referring to a floral decoration of the shoe and also the size of his sexual organ.

 

Once the nurse enters there is further sexual banter as she greets Mercutio with good morning but he asserts that it must be evening as ‘the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon’ – a pun on the time of day and his erection.

I hope there are enough examples here for you. 

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Romeo and Juliet

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