Act II – Scene.iii
Mercutio and Benvolio are searching for Romeo.
They have learned that he did not return home. Mercutio assumes he has been with Rosaline and makes an unkind comment.
Tybalt has sent a letter to Romeo challenging him to a duel because of the
insult he has made by attending the Capulet feast.
Mercutio makes a remark that Romeo is already dead, having been struck by
Romeo arrives and Mercutio continues to ridicule him saying that he is
weakened by love. Believing that Romeo is in love with Rosaline, he compares her to the famous beauties of the past.
The nurse enters trailed by the servant, Peter, and she asks for Romeo.
Mercutio continues his banter by insinuating that the nurse is a harlot,
thus infuriating her.
Benvolio and Mercutio leave, and the nurse warn Romeo not to lead Juliet
false, and Romeo assures her of his good intentions towards Juliet. Romeo tells the nurse that Juliet should attend Friar Laurence’s cell on the pretext that she is going to confession.
There they will be married. The nurse advises Romeo that she will arrange for a cloth ladder for Romeo so that he can climb into Juliet’s room on their wedding night.
Again, Rosaline’s specter is evident in this
scene. She becomes the brunt of Mercutio’s bawdy jibes.
He says how ludicrous Romeo is being weakened by his love, becoming less than a man. He compares Rosaline to past beauties, which include Thisbe, whose story resembles closely the plot of Romeo and Juliet.
The plot is further developed in that the arrangements for the wedding have
We obtain an interesting insight into how those closest to Romeo view him.
Both Juliet and Mercutio think they know who the real Romeo is. Mercutio thinks Romeo is a champion of the Montague cause and is really a good fighter who is currently being made weak by his love, which he believes to be for Rosaline. This love was immature, but unbeknown to be Mercutio he now has a mature love for Juliet, who she returns, and is therefore, not shallow, but deep rooted.
In the previous scene we see Juliet’s perspective of Romeo being divorced
from the social world of Verona, a powerful lover able to easily pull her away from the loyalty of her family.
Romeo has to tread the course carefully between being a private lover of
Juliet, and a public friend and champion of the Montague family.