The dialogue in Romeo and Juliet includes numerous puns. Although this play is a tragedy, it includes a lot of humor. Elizabethan audiences were particularly fond of wordplay and Shakespeare engaged them with many puns in most of his works. Many characters in Romeo and Juliet use wordplay, although exchanges between Romeo and Mercutio do so to a high degree, such as when Mercutio says,
Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o' both your houses! (3.1.101-102)
These are some of Mercutio's dying words. The word grave is used as a pun. It has two meanings since it refers to seriousness as well as a place where a body is buried.
The very opening of this play is also full of puns. This warms up the audience and gets them ready for the action that follows. The banter between Sampson and Gregory plays on the similar sounds of "choler," "carry coals," "collar," and "collier." In Shakespeare's day, "to carry coals" meant to be the object of an...
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