help with english lit analysis pls

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ellieloujonesx
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#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
can someone deeply and really sophistically analyse the quote "a plague o'both your houses" in romeo and Juliet said by Mercurio

(or just give some high level points pls)
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#2
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It's quite straightforward. At the time the play was written, the plague was a very real threat. The theatre was closed at one point to prevent it spreading. 'A plague on you' was a curse, similar to 'I hope you die'.
In his dying breath, Mercutio is cursing the two families and blaming them for his death. 'They have made worms meat of me'. It can be seen as foreshadowing; there is an established trope in drama that when a character says something like this it will come true.

For a higher level analysis, consider:
Is Mercutio being honest or fair in blaming the two families for his fatal wound? After all, he chose to challenge Tybalt when Romeo was trying to make peace.

At what point does the tone of Mercutio's speech change? At first he seems to be joking, 'a grave man' and making light of his 'scratch'. When does he stop being funny?

Mercutio is blaming the families rather than any one individual. Is this the moral lesson we can learn from the play? It seems to be supported by the final speech from Prince Escalus. Notice how he doesn't blame Tybalt, and while he points out that Romeo is partly to blame 'I was hurt under your arm' the anger is towards the whole family. Maybe Mercutio is the fool who understands more than anyone else.

The idea of a curse, and fate controlling events, comes from a tradition of Greek tragedy. A character will offend nature or the gods and from that moment they are doomed. Is Mercutio's curse the turning point, after which nothing ever goes right for Romeo or Juliet?
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