Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why is Mercutio so talkative in Romeo and Juliet?

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Mercutio is Romeo's best friend and one of the most interesting characters in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. His Queen Mab speech in Act I, Scene 4 is fascinating for its combination of fantasy and word play. When this scene is performed it is usually suggested that Mercutio is improvising and reeling off words from the top of his head. He is a great entertainer and he has the Montague men intrigued by his story of a fairy who roams people's brains and makes them dream of everything from money to violence. Indeed, Mercutio is a great speaker, and when he is on stage Shakespeare gives him plenty of lines. The reason for his talkative demeanor is explained by Romeo in Act II, Scene 4:

A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself
talk and will speak more in a minute than he will
stand to in a month.
Mercutio, then, just tends to love the sound of his own voice and his wittiness and edgy attitude have had critics suggesting that his death was out of necessity because he was stealing every scene and Shakespeare needed to get on with his plot. In the end, Mercutio's words get him in trouble in Act III, Scene 1 as he challenges Tybalt to a fight after Romeo backs down. Never one to stay silent, Mercutio's loquacious disposition ultimately costs him his life. 

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