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Published: 01-10-2019

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The Significance of the Minor Characters in the Play

In his play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare puts his minor characters to good use. Romeo’s pal Mercutio and Juliet’s nurse are each characters that are not deemed the primary concentrate of the play, but nevertheless play a vital function in the lives of Shakespeare’s central characters. The nurse acts as a link amongst the Capulet and Montague families, and thus makes it possible for communication and preparing to take spot between Romeo and Juliet, whilst Mercutio’s presence in the story is instrumental to the plot. Each role is valuable and needed in the play since they supply some comic relief, but also because their personalities support to define the protagonists and their actions enhance the way that the story turns out. Without having these characters, the play would not function appropriately.

Mercutio and the nurse each improve the play’s theme of ‘young love’ by comparing their level-headed approaches to the passion-driven methods of the principal characters. The crude language that is utilised by Mercutio and the continuous sexual references that are made by the nurse amplify the naïveté of the enjoy in between Romeo and Juliet. Both have a preoccupation with sex, although Romeo and Juliet favor to profess the comprehensive adoration that they have for one particular yet another. Both of these minor characters act as foils to the protagonists. The nurse is each aged and, even though nicely which means, somewhat of a bumbling fool. She frequently confuses words and repeats herself, whereas Juliet is nicely-spoken and appears to be a lot a lot more educated than her confidante. Similarly, where Juliet is a sign of youth in its prime, the nurse is much older and has given birth and been married, though each her husband and kid are mentioned to be deceased. In the very same way that the nurse stands as the opposite of Juliet, Mercutio is much distinct than Romeo. Romeo is a lovestruck romantic, even though Mercutio is a clever realist. In the first act, Romeo is troubled by his unrequited feelings for Rosalind. He starts to question really like and states, “Is really like a tender factor? It is too rough, too rude, as well boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn.” (I.iv. 25 – 26). In response, Mercutio says, “If adore be rough with you, be rough with love/Prick enjoy for pricking you and beat love down.” (I.iv. 27 – 28). Romeo is melodramatic and probably expects a similarly sensational and sympathetic response to his situation. Nevertheless, Mercutio is far too down-to-earth to lend any importance Romeo’s ‘woe is me’ statements, and essentially tells him to ‘get more than it’ and move on. Mercutio’s straightforward proclamations serve to bring the audience back to reality as properly and allow us to recognize Romeo’s tendency to be more than-dramatic. By offering us with these oppositional characters, Shakespeare highlights the qualities that he finds critical within Romeo and Juliet.

Although the nurse and Mercutio serve to market themes inside the story and to make the viewer notice specific qualities in the protagonists, they are also really important to the improvement of the plot. Mercutio’s death signifies the transition of the story from the path of a comedy to that of a tragedy. Because Romeo does not specifically inform Mercutio of his newfound really like for Juliet, it is impossible for Mercutio to use his words to influence the plot. However, his death does inspire Romeo to seek revenge on Tybalt, and hence has a profound effect on the fate of the two lovers.

In contrast to this relationship, Juliet and her nurse are very close, and she chooses to turn to the nurse for assistance in her relationship with Romeo. This makes it possible for the nurse to have a direct effect on the outcome of the story. The nurse can be seen as a sort of mother figure for the young Juliet. She has been with her ever considering that she was born, and Juliet values her loving suggestions. Have been her initial response to the pairing of the Capulet and Montague a optimistic one particular, Juliet would have been much much more most likely to pursue the forbidden romance. Apart from merely speaking influential words, the nurse also plays an important function in the progression of the plot through the actions that she takes. Firstly, it is the nurse who initially reveals Juliet’s identity to Romeo. It can also be noted that, on much more than a single occasion, the nurse agrees to meet up with Romeo in order to get info and relay messages from Juliet. In act 3, scene four, for the duration of one particular of their meetings, the nurse agrees to accept the delivery of a rope ladder so that Romeo could enter Juliet’s space in order to marry her. Once Mercutio dies and the nurse’s role becomes a tragic one particular, she still manages to influence the connection amongst the two young lovers by losing Juliet’s trust by advising her to marry Paris. When Juliet seeks comfort from the nurse, she surprises the young girl by responding that Romeo is not the right option for a husband



I feel it very best you married with the County.

O, he’s a lovely gentleman.

Romeo’s a dishclout to him. An eagle, madam,

Hath not so green, so rapid, so fair an eye

As Paris hath. Beshrew my quite heart,

I think you are content in this second match,

For it excels your initial or, if it did not,

Your very first is dead, or ‘twere as very good he have been

As living here and you no use of him. (III. v. 217 – 225.)

The nurse knows Juliet effectively and would be conscious of the truth that she is, like Romeo, somewhat of a romantic. To advise her to marry Paris primarily based on the fact that he is much better-seeking than Romeo says nothing at all at all to Juliet. With out the help of the nurse, Juliet takes matters into her own hands and loses that little piece of adult guidance that might have been in a position to avoid the final tragedy from taking spot. As a result, it is clear that the nurse’s words and actions are extremely influential upon Juliet and her connection with Romeo.

Mercutio and the nurse are each critical characters in Romeo & Juliet. Without the nurse, it is arguable that Juliet would have had considerably more difficulty getting details about Romeo, and might not even have followed by means of with the marriage had it not been for her encouraging words. Similarly, with out the death of Mercutio, the story would lack a pivotal point and Romeo would not have been so bloodthirsty towards Tybalt. It is also crucial to note the effect that these characters have on the viewer’s opinion of the protagonists. Certain qualities that are present in the primary characters turn into amplified when they are compared with these opposite qualities that exist within the secondary characters. These contradictory qualities give the play with a sense of humour and give its first half of the story a comedic sense. With out Mercutio and the nurse, the story of Romeo and Juliet would not be the same as we know it today.

Performs Cited

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. The Arden Shakespeare. Singapore: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. 1997.
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