Romeo And Juliet Queen Mab Speech Essay

Mercutio in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Using his imagination Mercutio describes Queen Mab to Romeo as one would
describe Santa Claus, Where Santa is actually fictitious, but also in a
sense reality.  In Queen Mab's case people do have different dreams of the
things they want, but the imaginative part is that Queen Mab sends these
dreams to people.  The account of Queen Mab is supposed to prove Mercutio's
imagination and that under his pugnacity there is a poet.  In William
Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio plays the part of Romeo's
rebel friend who uses his imagination to cheer Romeo up and describe to him
what he thinks of dreams.
When talking about Queen Mab, the dream fairy, tells what she discovers in
people's dreams, and how she can make someone dream of something.  In Act I,
scene iv, page 349 Mercutio says, " Through lovers' brains, and then they
dream of love; On courtiers' knees, that they dream of curtsies straight;
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream of fees; O'er ladies' lips, who
straight on kisses dream," this is saying that when she goes through a
lovers brain they dream of love, lawyers dream of money, and ladies dream of
kisses.  Queen Mab can also cause one to dream of something and this is
demonstrated in Mercutio's speech in  Act I, scene iv, page 349, "Sometime
she gallops o'er on courtiers nose, and then dreams he of smelling out a
suit;" this says that just by flying over someone she can make them dream
their wildest dreams therefore because Mercutio can paint such a picture
like that, he is demonstrating his poetic ability.
Mercutio uses his imagination to make Romeo realize that life is not a
spectator sport.  He talks of Queen Mab and paints a picture to Romeo that
dreams are a waste of time and if you want something you have to get it
yourself.  In Act I, scene iv, page 348, Romeo says, "I'll be a candleholder
and look on; the game was ne'er so fair, and I am done.  I dreamt a dream
tonight."  This is saying that he had a dream, but now it is over and he is
giving up.  Now also in Act I, scene iv, page 350, Mercutio says,"I talk of
dreams; which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain
fantasy."  This is saying that if Romeo were to just sit and dream he would

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go nowhere.  In order to make his dream reality  Romeo needed to chase it.
Mercutio establishes a connection between dreams and reality.  This
connection is that when you dream you are lying to yourself about reality. 
But Romeo also establishes the fact that when a person dreams it is at the
time reality to them.  In Act I, scene iv, page 348, Romeo says, "I dreamt a
dream tonight."  Mercutio then says, "And so did I."  Then Romeo, " Well
what was yours?"  Mercutio says, "That dreamers often lie."  This is where
Mercutio establishes the fact that dreamers lie to themselves.  But Romeo
then comes back with, "In bed asleep, while they do dream things true." 
This is where Romeo's point is proven that when a person dreams it is a
reality to them at that time.
Throughout this paper the point that was being established was that
Mercutio, despite his pugnacity, uses his imagination to create a poetic
speech to cheer Romeo.  In this speech Mercutio explores the connection
between dreams and reality.  His speech also includes his vision of Queen
Mab and what she discovers in people's dreams.



Romeo & Juliet: Mercutio's 'queen Mab' Speech

At the time Mercutio makes his famous "Queen Mab" speech in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, he and Romeo, together with a group of their friends and kinsmen, are on the way to a party given by their family's arch-enemy, Lord Capulet. Their plan is to crash the party so that Romeo may have the opportunity to see his current love, Rosaline, whom they know has been invited to the Capulet's masque that evening.

Romeo, whom his friends seem to consider generally very witty and fun, originally thought the party-crashing would be a wonderful idea, but suddenly is overcome by a sense of great foreboding; although they "mean well in going to this mask . . . 'tis no wit to go" (I, iv, 48-49). This annoys Mercutio, who does not recognize Romeo's reluctance as a genuine premonition, but feels it is simply another example of Romeo's lovesick whims. Romeo tries to explain to Mercutio that it is based upon a very disturbing dream, and Mercutio passes that off as silly, telling him that "Dreamers often lie." Here he is not saying that Romeo himself is a liar, but that people should put no faith in dreams. But Romeo is insistent; dreamers lie "in bed asleep, they do dream things true" (I, iv, 52).

This suddenly launches Mercutio into a speech that alters the entire pace of the scene. Up to now, the conversation has been typical of a group of people walking through the streets-short phrases, a generally relaxed mood. With Mercutio's words, "O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you!" he plunges into a forty-two line speech which is actually composed of only two sentences, giving him barely enough breath to pause between phrases. The gist of the speech concerns Mab, whom Celtic mythology considered to be the midwife of the fairies, and who also is held to be responsible for human beings' dreams.

The Queen Mab speech is totally fanciful, describing, as if to a child, this tiny little creature who flies through the air in a small carriage, driven by a "wagoner" who is a gnat. On the surface this seems like it should be charming, but when one boils it down, it isn't charming at all. For example, Queen Mab's "cover" of her carriage is made of grasshopper wings, which implies that someone must have pulled the grasshopper's wings off to make it. Ditto for the spider's legs which serve as the wagon's spokes, and the riding-whip which is made of a cricket's bone. Mercutio points out that the entire apparatus is not "half so big as a round little worm / Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid"-but do living maid's fingers have worms in them?

He leaps off the topic of Mab's carriage, however, to describe its route. Mab's function is apparently to drive over the sleeping forms of human beings, and cause them to...

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