Mercutio “Queen Mab” speech: “O then I see

Mercutio and Romeo have quite different viewpoints on love & violence, one of the main oppositional themes in the play. When Romeo expresses his concerns about crashing the Capulet party, Mercutio expresses that he thinks that romeo should man up. As such, Mercutio  shifts the tone of the play with the infamous “Queen Mab” speech: effectively ridiculing Romeo’s viewpoint and therefore we realise the disparity between Romeo and Mercutio’s opinions but, most importantly, we witness a vital shift in the character of Mercutio from light to dark. Until the Queen Mab speech starts, all that Mercutio and Romeo talk about is raillery, they often joke around but they never have serious conversations. However, the mood of the play takes a big shift when Mercutio produces the infamous “Queen Mab” speech: “O then I see Queen Mab hath been with you…”. When this speech starts, Mercutio begins speaking to much faster, as if he had a desperation to get his point across. Mercutio does this with the intention of proving to Romeo that he is foolish for not wanting to join the party and that suggesting that one should never put their faith in their dreams: “Dreamers often lie.” Mercutio has a clear transitional character which develops from swift puns to quickly tempered seriousness. His speech begins with fanciful charming imagery, but, this leads to more startling opinions on how, for example, the cover for “Queen Mabs’ chariot” is created only from the wings of grasshoppers. The Queen Mabs’ speech foreshadows the structure of the play as a whole: the play starts dreamy and features harmless lightheartedness. This introduction reflects the moment where Romeo discovers his love for Juliet, and no more than verbal debate takes place between the Capulets and Montagues; gradually working to increase the pace of the play. As such, the play starts to take a turn and nightmares start to appear, such as Mercutio’s stabbing which is later followed by the poisoning of Juliet.


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