What theme is reflected in act 3, scene 1 when Mercutio is stabbed and he says "A plague o' both your houses," and goes on to say, "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mortality is a strong theme in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Mercutio 's famous words "A plague o' both your houses!" foreshadows the outcome. The two houses he references are the Capulets and the Montagues who have been locked in an endless feud. And where go the Capulets and Montagues,...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Mortality is a strong theme in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Mercutio's famous words "A plague o' both your houses!" foreshadows the outcome. The two houses he references are the Capulets and the Montagues who have been locked in an endless feud. And where go the Capulets and Montagues, death follows. Mercutio blames both families for his death. Because he was Romeo's friend, he was Tybalt's enemy by default. His dying wish is for something terrible to happen to both families. He even blames Romeo for his death because Romeo distracted him by trying to quell the argument. He says, "you shall find me a grave man" because he knows that he is dying--one more victim of the long feud. The plague that soon after falls on the houses of Capulet and Montague is the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Though they both committed suicide, their deaths are still a result of the feud between their families, and the grief that follows is no doubt the plague that Mercutio wished on them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team