In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what does Mercutio say about "blind love"?

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madelynfair eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Deej, I would add to Ms. Charleston-Yawp's excellent and thorough exposition by encouraging you to also look at Act 2, scene 4 and his reference to the "blind bow-boy." Mercutio's criticism of Romeo's lovesick nature continues there and Meructio's ongoing argument that love gets in the way of good, ribald fun.

Deej, question for you: who does Mercutio turn his attention to next, after going off on love? Who or what does he go off on next? (See the links below.)

My question gets to blindness as an overall theme, which connects to the motifs of light and dark. People act blindly in love, and Mercutio means romantic love when he criticizes, but they also act blindly where else? Out of what kind of love, and out of what other kinds of emotions? Answers are found in this scene and in Act 3 where blindness drives the actions of the crisis scene. Ironically, these blind actions and choices take place in the hot, uncompromising light of the afternoon, and Romeo must flee into darkness for it.

You can argue that many are blind with love in this play. Is Mercutio's characterization that "if love be blind, love cannot hit the mark" true for all types of love in this play? Romantic, platonic, a father's love, and so forth?  There's an interesting spiritual reference in Mercutio's line, since sin literally means, "missing the mark." Interesting! What's love's greatest sin in this play? Its blindness?

I hope our comments lead you to some deeper questioning and analysis. You probably know that you can search the text for the word "blind" and see how often and where it surfaces, so you can gather all the quotes you can for your interpretation.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mercutio comments briefly about love being blind at the very beginning of Act II of Romeo and Juliet.  Mercutio and Benvolio are searching for Romeo after the Capulets' party.  (Romeo, of course, ditches his friends to find Juliet.)  As they call for Romeo, Benvolio has an idea that Romeo has hidden himself among a forest of trees to "consort" with the "humorous night," because "blind is his love and best befits the dark" (2.1.32-34).  Since Benvolio has brought up the subject, Mercutio comments upon it by saying, "If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark" (2.1.35).  This comment can be taken in a number of ways, the least controversial being that if love is blind then love can never make a lover truly happy.  The most controversial meaning could literally be about the logistics of having sex in the dark.  In my opinion, and in knowing Mercutio rather well, I would venture to say that Mercutio probably wanted both meanings considered in regards to his statement.  The reader has to remember that Mercutio has spent all of his screen time so far trying to get Romeo to forget about his mournful love, Rosaline, or at least to be less melodramatic about it.  Why?  Because Romeo's melodrama is cutting down on Mercutio's fun.  In regards to the more controversial meaning, one has to remember the context of the scene:  two friends throwing sexual insults at an invisible Romeo.  No matter what, it is interesting to consider the truth behind Mercutio's words today as well as whether they are true by the end of the play (especially considering what eventually happens to Romeo and Juliet).

rosita | Student

he is trying to say that we can't actually see love when it just seems impossible to us, instead, we call it blind love.