Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the relationship between Mercutio and Romeo, as portrayed in Act II, Scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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Romeo and Mercutio are close friends, with Mercutio being slightly older than Romeo. The pair of them come from a similar background. Mercutio is characterized as something of a joker, but it is evident that he has a protective instinct towards Romeo.

In the scene you are asking about, Act 2, Scene 4, we as readers and audience members learn more about the relationship between Mercutio and Romeo. Mercutio, at the beginning of the scene, is convinced that Romeo has not turned up because he is with Rosaline, who "torments" him. He thinks of Romeo as a slightly lovesick and naive boy who is likely to be kept from his appointments by romantic assignations. Mercutio goes on to say that Romeo is "already dead" because of love and his response to his feelings.

When Romeo does arrive, Mercutio teases him fondly, saying that Romeo gave them "the counterfeit" or "the slip" the previous evening. The subsequent verbal exchange between Mercutio and Romeo, in which they finish each other's proffered...

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