1 Answer | Add Yours
Mercutio utters this line three times after having been run through by Tybalt in a street duel. He fought the hot-headed Capulet, who is Juliet's cousin, after Romeo, having just married Juliet (unbeknownst to everyone involved) refused to. Essentially, the phrase is a curse, wishing ill will on the "houses," or families whose feud he claims resulted in his death:
A plague o’ both your houses!
They have made worms’ meat of me. I have it,
And soundly too. Your houses!
There is a sense in which the families are, indeed, cursed. The Prologue refers to Romeo and Juliet as "star-cross'd lovers" that are essentially victims of fate. Certainly the events that take place after Romeo retaliates for his friend's death by killing Tybalt have an air of cosmic inevitability about them.
We’ve answered 319,843 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question