So I’m going back over Romeo and Juliet for a project I’m playing with, and I just noticed something that I’d never really thought of before. Act I, Scene iv, we see Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio getting ready for the party . This is where the famous Queen Mab speech comes in. I also think it’s interesting that Mercutio, for such a strong character, gets no real introduction, he’s just that fun guy that you party with. Mercutio’s first line in the entire play is “Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.” Makes me think of characters from Seinfeld or something.
Anyway. The thing I just noticed is this exchange:
Romeo: “I have a soul of led so stakes me to the ground I cannot move.”
Mercutio: “You are a lover, borrow Cupid’s wings, and soar with them above a common bound.”
That sound familiar to anybody? Act II, Scene ii.
Romeo: “With love’s light wings did I o’er-perch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out.”
While Romeo is busy wooing Juliet, he’s blatantly stealing lines that Mercutio gave him! That’s actually funny. Maybe that’s something that everybody else has seen before, but I don’t recall my 9th grade English teacher pointing it out. (I do remember her showing us the Zeffirelli(?) film and forgetting to mention there was nudity in it. Never saw anyone run for the Stop button so fast!)
If, just for a moment, you spin the play completely different, where Romeo and his friends really are just college boys looking to get some action after the party (basically what Benvolio and Mercutio wanted), you could have a blast with it. Imagine drunken Mercutio and Benvolio hiding in the bushes underneath the balcony loudly whispering things like, “Tell her Queen Mab hath been with you!” or “Show her your naked weapon!”
Maybe I’m just sleepy, I’m writing this on the morning train to keep myself occupied :).