Analyze Mercutio's dying remarks in act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet.

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Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch. Marry, ’tis enough (3.1.94).

Mercutio's sense of bawdy humor is with him until his last moments. Although he has been fatally stabbed by Tybalt, he refers to his wound as a "scratch," yet also more somberly notes that it will be "enough" to end his life. Mercutio's ability to bring a naughty sense of humor to any situation makes him one of the most memorable minor characters in Shakespeare's plays.

Ask for me
tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man (3.1.98–99).

Mercutio utilizes a pun here in the choice of the word "grave." On one hand, it reflects the seriousness of the situation (serious being an adjective not typically used to describe Mercutio); it also reflects that he knows that he will be dead by the next day, as he will be found in his physical grave as well. Mercutio's continued use of humor in the moments of his death reflect his ongoing wit.

A plague o’ both
your houses! (3.1.100–101)

Mercutio invokes a curse three times in his brief dying words. He is thereby shifting all of the blame to the Capulet and Montague feud, taking none of the responsibility for himself. Just lines before, Romeo tries to get everyone to calm down and not engage in this altercation. He stands in front of Mercutio, trying to protect him, and Tybalt stabs Mercutio under Romeo's outstretched arm. Mercutio chooses to engage in the fight, yet he curses Romeo and Juliet's futures and families for causing his death. The foreshadowing is heavy in this repeated curse, and the lovers themselves will suffer a quick end to their own lives. Interestingly, their deaths seem to remove the bitter hatred between the two families, so the curse on the "houses" doesn't seem to have the intended effect.

They have made worms’ meat of me.

Mercutio speaks gravely again, noting that they (and specifically, Romeo and Juliet) have caused his death; now worms will eat his remains. Mercutio likely enjoys a fairly high social standing as one of Romeo's friends, and he has fallen to the complete bottom of the world in his death and in this line. All is lost.

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Mercutio's dying remarks in act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet provide tragic humor as Mercutio fills his last minutes with biting remarks at Romeo. Mercutio, even after being lethally stabbed, continues to present his witty character by telling Romeo that he will find him to be a "grave man" in the morning. The scene still has tragic elements to it, of course, and as Mercutio is unable to use humor to keep away the terror of death, his last words are uttering a curse upon the houses of the Capulets and the Montagues. The curse he utters absolutely foreshadows the tragedy that is to become of Romeo's and Juliet's romance. As Mercutio speaks his curse and dies, Romeo and Juliet's deaths are not far behind.

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Mercutio's death is the catalyst for the tragic events that follow in the play. Shakespeare's expertise is also displayed in Mercutio's witty, symbolic comments before he dies. After Tybalt fatally wounds Mercutio, Mercutio immediately curses both of the families and attempts to dismiss his injury by telling Benvolio, "Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough" (Shakespeare, 3.1.93). Mercutio makes use of a literary device known as understatement when describing the extent of his wound. Mercutio then employs a pun by telling Romeo that tomorrow they will find him a "grave" man. Mercutio's use of the word "grave" has a double meaning that implies his impending death. Mercutio then curses both the Montague and Capulet families before he dies. Mercutio's plagues are significant and foreshadow the tragic events that follow. Indeed, both the Montagues and Capulets are cursed; beloved members of both families tragically die. 

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Considered by many as Shakespeare's most interesting and entertaining character in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is also intrinsic to the tragedy of this drama.  For, his death in Act III, Scene 1 is the catalyst for the tragic events that follow.

Acting as the bridge between the comic and tragic events, Mercutio is  witty when he is stabbed, calling it "a scratch," and saying that his wound is "not so deep as a well nor so wide as a church door," then telling Romeo that tomorrow Romeo will find him "a grave man."  But, Mercutio is a lethal jester who asks, "Does Mercutio make Romeo look bad?" as his wit turns to curses: "A plague o'both your houses!"

This curse is uttered no less that the very symbolic and significant three times. And, it launches the unfolding tragedy as, indeed, the houses of Montague and of Capulet are indeed plagued.  For, it is a very plague which deters the message of Friar Laurence from reaching Romeo.  It is a curse upon the lovers that Friar Laurence abandons Juliet in the tomb when she awakens because he hears the guards.  And, finally,it is a curse/plague that Romeo does not wait for only a few minutes as Juliet awakens so shortly after his suicide.

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