There are many characters in Romeo and Juliet that contributed to Mecutio’s death. Although there are three main suspects, who hold most blame, these are Romeo, Tybalt and Mecutio himself. I personally lay all blame on Romeo, as he aggravated the situation the most up to and during Act 3 scene 1. I would show this in a performance by having Romeo’s characteristics as being rather sly, having him act as though he is above the group. This will convey to the audience that he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions.
Although there are three main suspects, there are also many other characters that contributed to Mecutio’s death. These characters are, the Capulet and Montague families. There is tension between the two families ‘…dog of the house of Montague’ and ‘though villain Capulet!’ shows the families are feuding, even their servants fight ‘the quarrel is between our masters, and us their man’
Friar Laurence holds some blame, as he gave Romeo bad advice about marrying Juliet. Friar Laurence had an ulterior motive when he married Romeo and Juliet ‘…turn your households rancour to pure love.’ Friar Laurence rushes an illegal marriage between Romeo and Juliet ‘…holy church incorporate to in one’ in the hope that their families will stop fighting. Friar Laurence’s bad advice also results in Romeo meeting the nurse; this frustrates Mecutio as he insults the nurse ‘A bawd…’ ‘…hoar’ and ‘…ancient lady…’ which only makes the situation worse.
Juliet’s nurse can be blamed for contributing to Mecutio’s death as she encourage Romeo an Juliet to marry by getting Juliet to confession ‘…leave to go to shrift today…’ although the only has good intentions when it comes to Juliet’s happiness. The marriage has negative effects, as Romeo can’t fight Tybalt as they are now related ‘…I have to love thee’ Juliet herself can be blamed as she proposes to an enemy ‘thy purpose marriage…’ Juliet went against her upbringing and defies her family’s wishes.
Romeos cousin, Benvolio is a character I would consider to have a major part in Mecutio’s death. Romeo asked Benvolio to help him break up the fight between Mecutio and Tybalt, ‘Draw Benvolio! Beat down their weapons.’
Benvolio’s character is very good at commenting on action but never gets involved, as Benvolio didn’t act in this situation, leaving Romeo to stop the fighting, Romeo’s actions having fatal consequences.
Tybalt can be blamed for Mecutio’s death as he actually stabbed Mecutio, as it says in the stage directions ‘…Tybalt wounds Mecutio.’ Although I don’t blame Tybalt as he had no intention of fighting Mecutio.
Tybalt went to duel with Romeo. As that was the how honour was satisfied. Tybalt did this because he feels Romeo has lost respect for him ‘…the injuries that thou has done me.’ This is because Romeo, a Montague, snuck into a Capulet party.
I will show the audience that Tybalt isn’t to blame though facial expressions and body language. When Mecutio threaten Tybalt I would have Mecutio look surprised, put his arms up and step away from Mecutio. This would convey to the audience that Tybalt doesn’t have any desire to fight Mecutio. To justify Tybalt fighting Mecutio I will show to the audience that Romeo frustrates Tybalt by not fighting ‘…be satisfied’ and the only reason Tybalt fights Mecutio is because Romeo has made him angry.
Mecutio could be blame for his own death. Mecutio is very short tempered an has an aggressive altitude towards life ‘…beat down love.’ These characteristics get Mecutio in trouble.
Mecutio insults Tybalt ‘you rat-catcher…’ this frustrates Tybalt making the situation worse. Tybalt doesn’t provoke Mecutio in anyway but Mecutio draws his sword ‘Here’s my fiddle-stick…’ Mecutio is only standing up for his friend, but loses his temper very quickly.
Tybalt shows he has no wish to fight Mecutio ‘…peace be with you sir.’ Tybalt shows he has respect for Tybalt by calling him ‘sir’.
Mecutio intensifies the circumstances surrounding Tybalt and himself. ‘Here comes my man…’ this is an innocent comment made by Tybalt regarding Romeo, yet Mecutio takes Tybalt’s words out of context.
Mecutio becomes enraged, as he is suspicious that his friend Romeo is deserting him. Form Tybalt’s comment he becomes convinced that Romeo has betrayed him.
Romeo doesn’t fight Tybalt ‘…I have to love thee.’ Romeo’s actions irritate Mecutio and he reacts by drawing his sword. Romeo has enraged Mecutio as well and this time he responds to the challenge ‘I am for you.’ Their actions have fatal consequences.
I would have Mecutio show the audience that he tries to support his friend, but when Romeo annoys Mecutio he loses his temper and takes it out on Tybalt. I would show this by Mecutio’s body language as very defensive forwards Tybalt. When Romeo won’t fight Tybalt I would have Mecutio’s facial expressions as frustrated and angry as he feels his suspicions that Romeo has deserted him are proved to be true.
I hold Romeo responsible for Mecutio’s death as his irresponsible actions leading up to Act 3 Scene 1 caused the most tension and frustration between the people involved.
Romeo has an interest in love that isn’t felt by Mecutio. Romeo feels he is in love with Rosaline ‘…under loves heavy burden…’ Romeo constantly talks about Rosaline this annoys Mecutio ‘…be rough with love.’ Romeo deserts his friends ‘he ran this way…’ the fact that Romeo leaves his friends frustrates Mecutio. Mecutio feels that Romeo has abandoned him to be with Rosaline ‘…by Rosaline’s bright eyes…’
Romeos decision to meet Juliet’s nurse aggravates Mecutio. Romeo leaves Mecutio when Mecutio is trying to get Romeo to duel with Tybalt by receiving the challenge ‘…come to your fathers.’ Romeo doesn’t listen and again leaves Mecutio.
When Tybalt comes to challenge Romeo, Romeo has just married Juliet, Tybalt’s cousin. Romeo has no desire to fight Tybalt and no knowledge of the challenge. Therefore when Tybalt provokes Romeo by saying ‘…thou art a villain.’ Romeo’s response surprises Tybalt ‘…good Capulet, which name I tender as dearly as my own.’ because Romeo and Tybalt are now related by marriage. Romeo’s response aggravates Tybalt as Romeo turns to leave.
Mecutio and Tybalt are both very frustrated because of Romeo’s behaviour, and feel honour isn’t satisfied. Mecutio provokes Tybalt into a duel ‘…pluck you sword…’ Tybalt responds to Mecutio’s advances. Romeo then makes a grave mistake as the stage directions say ‘Romeo tries to stop the fighting…’ Romeo’s actions have fatal consequences as Mecutio is wounded under Romeo’s arm.
On stage I would have Romeo at first looking innocent, as he knows nothing about the challenge, then have his body language towards Tybalt as though he was acting superior. This would annoy Tybalt, as he is the elder of the two. When Romeo steps in the way of the fighting I would have the actor playing Romeo use all his force to stop Mecutio from fighting but leave Tybalt free, so he can stab Mecutio. This would show Romeo hasn’t thought about his actions properly.
Out of the many characters that hold some blame for Mecutio’s death, I blame Romeo the most. I have conveyed my reasons for this and have also shown how I would display this to the audience if directing a performance of Romeo and Juliet.