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-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Note to Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.45-46 "consort'st with ... Consort . . . minstrels"


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Romeo and Juliet,
Act 3, Scene 1, line 45,
Tybalt provokes Mercutio by saying "Mercutio, thou consor'st with Romeo." "Consort'st with" means "associate with," "keep company with," but with a strong derogatory connotation, as in "a politician who consorts with gangsters." In reply, Mercutio exclaims "Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels?" Here Mercutio deliberately takes the word in the sense of "play music with." (Also, a band was called a "consort.")

minstrels: wandering musicians. Minstrels were looked down upon; see Act 4, Scene 5, line 115, in which Peter insults a musician by calling him a "minstrel."