22 October, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Favorite Characters from Shakespeare

The Ultimate Best Friend
Mercutio, from Romeo and Julietmercutio

Neither a Montague nor a Capulet, Mercutio is the friend who can get you into any party and then keep everyone in stitches once you’re there.  He’ll still hang out with you once you’ve fallen in love and gotten all googly-eyed over a girl, and not even question that she’s from the other side of the tracks – although he will question why you waste your time on love at all, but he’ll have a twinkle in his eye as he does so.  He’ll stand up for your honor, even when you won’t do so yourself.

Yeah, he’s kind of crude and doesn’t always know when to lay off.  He’s got a wicked sense of humor, and a quick wit – always good for a laugh.  Occasionally he gets moody, but who of us doesn’t, eh?  And yes, he’s got a short fuse, but he’s also always got your back.  And he’s a wicked good swordsman.  A man’s man, for better or worse.

When performed by a consummate actor, the role of Mercutio is a show stopper.  Whether it be the imaginative Queen Mab’s speech, his coarse bantering with Romeo (“If love be rough with you, be rough with love; Prick love for pricking and you beat love down.” – Act 1, Scene 4), or his devastating death, where all the jokes in the world cannot overcome the tragic loss and final, damning curse, Mercutio plays directly to our hearts.

-Sharon Browning

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