To what extent is Mercutio responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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The answer to this question is subject to the feelings and thoughts of individual audience members or readers. You are certainly welcome to argue that Mercutio should share some of the blame for the eventual deaths of both Romeo and Juliet. A person could argue that had Mercutio not fought Tybalt, he wouldn't have died. If Mercutio didn't die, then Romeo wouldn't kill Tybalt for revenge. If Romeo didn't kill Tybalt, then Romeo wouldn't be banished and cause events to spiral out of control. Personally, I don't agree with that reasoning. If Mercutio is partly to blame, then I also think it is appropriate to blame the weather. If the weather wasn't hot, Mercutio wouldn't have been stirring for a fight.

The day is hot, the Capulets abroad.
And if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl,
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

If Mercutio gets some of the blame, then I think Benvolio deserves as much of the blame as well. He convinces Romeo to go to the banquet. If that didn't happen, then Romeo never would have met Juliet, and the entire doomed relationship wouldn't have occurred. We might as well give Rosaline some of the blame too. If she would have just decided to be with Romeo, then Benvolio woudn't have needed to convince Romeo of attending the party.

The problem with spreading the blame around like that is it doesn't focus on the roles that Romeo and Juliet played in their own deaths. They know the relationship is forbidden, yet they rush into a marriage that isn't going to make their families happy. Additionally, nobody forced Romeo and Juliet to kill themselves. They are more to blame for their deaths than any other character in the play.

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Whether or not Mercutio holds any blame in Romeo's and Juliet's deaths is certainly a very interesting question. One of Shakespeare's main points is to show the consequences of all kinds of violent, uncontrolled emotions, ranging from both hatred to even love; plus, Mercutio certainly is one of the characters Shakespeare uses to portray uncontrolled emotions. Mercutio, much like Romeo himself, is characterized as rash and impetuous; plus, unlike Romeo, he is also characterized as having a rather fiery and hot-blooded temper. It is his rashness and his temper that helps perpetuate the fight with Tybalt, not only leading to his own death, but eventually to Romeo's and Juliet's deaths as well.We especially see Mercutio's impetuousness and hot-bloodedness in Act 3, Scene 1, just before the fight with Tybalt begins. Practical, sensible Benvolio begs Mercutio to get off the street that day, warning:

The day is hot, the Capulets abroad.And if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl,For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring. (III.i.2-4)

But Mercutio refuses to listen, possibly because his own "mad blood [was] stirring." Prior to this scene, Benvolio informs Mercutio that Tybalt has challenged Romeo to a...

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duel. Could it be that Mercutio feels angered by Tybalt's challenge on his friend's life? It's very likely that is one reason why Mercutio refuses to get off the street that day--he actually wants to be there and possibly even start a fight with Tybalt himself in honor of his friend. However, remaining on the street to provoke a fight is an extremelyrash and impetuous decision of Mercutio's.Mercutio further shows his impetuousness and hot-bloodedness when he becomes angered by Romeo's attempts to pacify Tybalt rather than answer his challenge. Mercution becomes so angered by Romeo's attempts to just walk away from Tybalt that Mercutio declares, "O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!" and challenges Tybalt to a duel himself (72). However, Mercutio's rash, emotionally driven response is a poor response, not only because fighting on the streets breaks Prince Escalus's newly decreed law, but also because it leads to his own death. More importantly, Mercutio's rash, impetuous response incites Romeo to make his own rash, impetuous decision to avenge Mercutio's death. Romeo's own poor decision of course leads to his own death as well as Juliet's. Hence we see that Mercutio embodies Shakespeare's point concerning the consequences of violent, uncontrolled emotions, especially emotions led by rash, impetuous decisions.

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To what extent are the other characters, especially Mercutio, vaguely responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet?

Neither Romeo nor Juliet have anyone solid they can confide in. The parents and friends in their lives try to reach out but are either too self absorbed or oblivious to see what is happening with the two lovers. 

Mercutio teases Romeo mercilessly but he doesn't listen to him. Mercutio wants Romeo not to be with a woman because he wants his friend back. He seems jealous--he is crass and disrespectful in his comments about Romeo's infatuation with Rosalind, and Romeo must think he would react the same way to Romeo's new love. And,yes, Tybalt and Mercutio both spark the events (out of well meaning but misperceived senses of honour) that lead to disaster. 

Romeo's parents clearly care about him but they have no real rapport with their son. They have to ask others about him because they don't know. 

Juliet's parents see her as a doting daughter (which, up to this point, she has been). There is no room in their relationship for her to be contrary, which, of course, is what teenagers do in order to grow. Hence, she can't talk to either of them, particularly not her mother who, though her references to Paris suggest she is capable of love, has married for position instead. She could not be expected to have sympathy for a young upstart daughter who wants to throw out her future for the love of a boy.

The few people they do trust--the nurse and the friar --are well meaning fools who try to act in R and J's best interests but who harm them more than help them.

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