Romeo’s best friend and kinsman to Prince Escalus. Mercutio is one of the play’s most dynamic and complex characters. Wild, frenetic, easygoing, and fun-loving, Mercutio’s manic energy, rambling stories, and razor-sharp wit masks a much darker core. Mercutio is quick with words and is one of the play’s most skilled masters of puns and wordplay—he is always ready with a scandalous joke or a bawdy tale, but deep down, the play suggests that Mercutio is long past tired of his role as Romeo’s jester. Mercutio’s quickness to fight rivals Tybalt’s hotheaded rage, and Mercutio often involves himself in brawls that shouldn’t concern him, always fighting on behalf of the Montagues. When once such fight with Tybalt ends with Tybalt fatally stabbing Mercutio, he attempts to play the wound off as a “scratch”—but as he succumbs to his wounds, he rails against the forces that have killed him, wishing “a plague [on] both [the] houses” of Montague and Capulet and revealing in his dying moments his deep contempt, frustration, and anger for the petty, ancient feud between them.
Mercutio Quotes in Romeo and Juliet
The Romeo and Juliet quotes below are all either spoken by Mercutio or refer to Mercutio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Romeo and Juliet published in 2004.).
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes
Romeo: Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.
Mercutio: No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough, 'twill serve: ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.
Mercutio Character Timeline in Romeo and Juliet
The timeline below shows where the character Mercutio appears in Romeo and Juliet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 4
Act 2, Scene 1
...his “heart” is still inside. He hides himself against the orchard wall as Benvolio and Mercutio enter, searching for him. Mercutio calls out for Romeo, begging him to make himself seen,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Act 3, Scene 1
...in fact loves the Capulet man, whose surname he loves “as dearly as [his] own.” Mercutio, angered by Romeo’s “vile submission,” draws his sword. Tybalt draws his, too, and though Romeo... (full context)
...fool,” quickly runs away. The citizens’ watch enters, looking to arrest the man who slayed Mercutio, and Benvolio points out Tybalt’s body on the ground. The prince enters with Montague, Capulet,... (full context)