Act II Scene 4 from https://sheehy-english.wikispaces.com/Romeo+and+Juliet+Notes
Some of you will find the chatter of Mercutio confusing at parts, but do not despair! Shakespeare loves word play and wit, and he fills Mercutio’s lines with both of these things. If you get tangled and confused at the details of Mercutio’s lines, move on.
This scene begins with Romeo’s friends discussing two things: how much they dislike Rosaline for tormenting him, and how Tybalt has challenged Romeo (which means challenged to a duel). Mercutio fears that Romeo’s lovesickness makes him unfit to fight, and in an outburst proliferated with dueling lingo, he describes Tybalt’s precise and detailed style of swordsmanship.
Romeo enters and he and Mercutio taunt each other with a massive outpouring of word play, where each character tries to respond to the other’s quips with words that mean more than one thing. It is, in a sense, a friendly duel, using words instead of swords. Mercutio eventually observes with joy that he likes this Romeo much better than his lovesick counterpart.
The nurse enters with her fellow servant and she quickly becomes the butt of Mercutio’s jesting, which gets a bit crude. The nurse acts offended, but as you have found, the nurse acts a lot of things. In her conversation with Romeo, a lot of excess chatter emerges, but eventually the main message gets across—that if Juliet comes to Friar Laurence’s cell this afternoon, they will marry.
Listen and follow along with the lines provided in this link. 2.4 should take you from 19:29 – 37:26.
Answer the following questions.
… In this scene. Describe the function, behavior, and role they play in 2.4 and in developing the plot.
Now, watch the Animated Tale of Romeo and Juliet. Watch until 10:30. It will refresh you on the plot of the play thus far, but what has the animated tale left out? Why do you think they chose to leave those certain elements out?
Now watch these two clips of the scene from Zeffirelli
How does Mercutio seem here? How do you like this depiction of the scene?
So, you think you know scene 3 and 4 of act 2? See if you know the answers to these questions:
1. What is Friar Laurence’s special skill or area of expertise?
2. With what does Friar Laurence compare the beneficial and poisonous parts of the plant?
3. About what does the Friar caution Romeo?
4. Why does the Friar agree to marry Romeo and Juliet?
5. Who has sent Romeo a challenge for a duel?
6. Who teases Romeo about Rosaline and his love-sickness?
7. Who teases the Nurse and causes her to become angry?
8. What excuse is Juliet to give for going to Friar Laurence’s cell?
9.Where are Romeo and Juliet to be married?
10. How does Romeo plan to get into Juliet’s window?