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Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- 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.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1

           Enter MERCUTIO, BENVOLIO,
MEN: servants. Abraham and Balthasar, who we saw in the first scene of the play, might be two of the servants following Benvolio and Mercutio.
            [PAGE,] and MEN.

  1   I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
  2   The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
  3   And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
  4   For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

  5   Thou art like one of those fellows that when he
6. claps me: claps. The "me" adds the sense of "we all know what kind of person I'm talking about."
  6   enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword
  7   upon the table and says "God send me no need of
8-9. by  . . .  drawer: under the influence of the second cup of wine draws his sword against the bartender.
  8   thee!" and by the operation of the second cup draws
  9   it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.

 10   Am I like such a fellow?

11-13. thou art  . . .  moved: you are as hot a fellow in your temperament as any in Italy, and as quickly incited to be angry, and as quickly in the mood to be incited.
 11   Come, come, thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as
 12   any in Italy, and as soon moved to be moody, and as
 13   soon moody to be moved.

14-15. what to?: Benvolio asks what emotion or action he would be moved to, but Mercutio deliberately misinterprets the word "to" as "two."
 14   And what to?

 15   Nay, an there were two such, we should have none
 16   shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! why,
 17   thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more,
 18   or a hair less, in his beard, than thou hast: thou
 19   wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no
20. hazel: The color hazel is a light or yellowish brown, the same color as the shell of the hazelnut.
 20   other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes: what
 21   eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel?
 22   Thy head is as fun of quarrels as an egg is full of
23. meat: i.e., edible matter.  addle: addled, scrambled.
 23   meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as
 24   an egg for quarrelling: thou hast quarrelled with a
 25   man for coughing in the street, because he hath
 26   wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun:
 27   didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing
28. doublet: jacket.
29. riband: ribbon.
30. tutor me from: advise me against.
 28   his new doublet before Easter? with another, for
 29   tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou
 30   wilt tutor me from quarrelling!

 31   An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man
32. fee-simple: absolute ownership, undisputed title.  32-33. buy  . . .  quarter: i.e., I wouldn't live more than an hour and a quarter.
 32   should buy the fee-simple of my life for an hour
 33   and a quarter.

34. simple!: slender, stupid. Mercutio is saying that Benvolio has just made a very lame joke.
 34   The fee-simple! O simple!

           Enter TYBALT, PETRUCHIO,
           and others.

 35   By my head, here come the Capulets.

 36   By my heel, I care not.

 37   Follow me close, for I will speak to them.
38. good den: good afternoon.
 38   Gentlemen, good den: a word with one of you.

 39   And but one word with one of us? couple it with
 40   something; make it a word and a blow.

41. apt enough to that: ready enough for that  an: if.
 41   You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, an you
 42   will give me occasion.

 43   Could you not take some occasion without
 44   giving?

45-46. consort'st with ... Consort . . . minstrels:
 45   Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo,—

 46   Consort! what, dost thou make us minstrels? an
 47   thou make minstrels of us, look to hear nothing but
48. here's my fiddlestick: Mercutio draws his rapier.
49. 'Zounds: This oath is a shortened form of "by his [Christ's] wounds," but does not have any genuine religious content.
 48   discords: here's my fiddlestick; here's that shall
 49   make you dance. 'Zounds, consort!

50. public haunt of men: i.e., a place (such as a market-place) where people come all the time.
52. reason coldly of: discuss calmly.
53. depart: part company.
 50   We talk here in the public haunt of men:
 51   Either withdraw unto some private place,
 52   And reason coldly of your grievances,
 53   Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.

 54   Men's eyes were made to look, and let them gaze;
 55   I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I.

           Enter ROMEO.

 56   Well, peace be with you, sir: here comes my man.

57-59. I'll be hanged ... man: i.e., Romeo's not your manservant, but he is the man who will fight you.
 57   But I'll be hanged, sir, if he wear your livery:
 58   Marry, go before to field, he'll be your follower;
 59   Your worship in that sense may call him "man."

60. the love I bear thee: the love I have for you. Tybalt is being heavily sarcastic.
 60   Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford
 61   No better term than this: thou art a villain.

62. Tybalt ... love thee: Romeo should now love Tybalt because Romeo has just married Tybalt's cousin Juliet.
63-64. excuse  . . .  greeting: mollify the rage that would be appropriate to the kind of greeting that you have just given me.
 62   Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
 63   Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
 64   To such a greeting: villain am I none;
 65   Therefore farewell; I see thou know'st me not.

 66   Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
 67   That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.

68. protest: earnestly proclaim.
69. devise: understand.
 68   I do protest I never injured thee,
 69   But love thee better than thou canst devise,
 70   Till thou shalt know the reason of my love:
71. tender: value.
 71   And so, good Capulet,—which name I tender
 72   As dearly as my own,—be satisfied.

 73   O calm, dishonourable, vile submission!
74. Alla stoccata carries it away: i.e., the first thrust wins the fight. Alla stoccata is an Italian fencing term, meaning "at the first thrust."
 74   Alla stoccata carries it away.


75. rat-catcher: i.e., pussy. In folklore, "Tybalt" was the name of the King of Cats.  walk: i.e., fight. Now (C.E. 2015) the equivalent phrase is "step outside."
 75   Tybalt, you rat-catcher, will you walk?

 76   What wouldst thou have with me?

 77   Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine
78. make bold withal: use as I please.  78-79. as you shall use me hereafter: depending on how you treat after that.  79. drybeat: beat with a sword, but without drawing blood. 80. his pilcher: its scabbard.
81. by the ears: Maybe "ears" refers to the cross-guard of Tybalt's sword, and maybe the phrase "by the ears" implies that the sword is reluctant to come out of its scabbard because Tybalt is afraid to fight.
 78   lives; that I mean to make bold withal, and as you
 79   shall use me hereafter, drybeat the rest of the
 80   eight. Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher
 81   by the ears? make haste, lest mine be about your
 82   ears ere it be out.

 83   I am for you.


84. Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up: good Mercutio, put your rapier back in its scabbard.
 84   Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.

85. passado: forward thrust.
 85   Come, sir, your passado.

           [They fight.]

 86   Draw, Benvolio; beat down their weapons.
 87   Gentlemen, for shame, forbear this outrage!
 88   Tybalt, Mercutio, the prince expressly hath
89. bandying: exchanging sword strokes.
 89   Forbidden bandying in Verona streets:

           [Romeo steps between them.]

 90   Hold, Tybalt! good Mercutio!

           [Tybalt under Romeo's arm stabs
           Mercutio.] Away Tybalt [with his followers].

 90                                                   I am hurt.
91. sped: done for.
92. hath nothing: has no wound
 91   A plague o' both your houses! I am sped.
 92   Is he gone, and hath nothing?

 92                                                 What, art thou hurt?

93. a scratch ... enough:
94. villain: fellow, rascal. Mercutio uses this derogatory term not because he is angry at his page, but because he is angry at his fate.
 93   Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough.
 94   Where is my page? Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.

           [Exit Page.]

 95   Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much.

 96   No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
 97   church door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve. Ask for me
98-99. a grave man: (1) a serious man, one who doesn't pun; (2) a dead man. Even as he is dying, Mercutio puns about dying and not punning any more.  I am peppered, I warrant, for this world: I guarantee that I am done for (in) this world.
 98   tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am
 99   peppered, I warrant, for this world. A plague o' both
100   your houses! 'Zounds, a dog, a rat, a mouse, a cat, to
101   scratch a man to death! a braggart, a rogue, a villain,
102. fights by the book of arithmetic: i.e., fights without inspiration, but merely by the book.
102   that fights by the book of arithmetic! Why the devil
103   came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.

104   I thought all for the best.

105   Help me into some house, Benvolio,
106   Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
107   They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
108   And soundly too. Your houses!

           Exeunt [Mercutio and Benvolio].

109. ally: kinsman. It is never explained just how Mercutio is related to Prince Escalus. 110. very friend: true friend.
111-112. my reputation stain'd / With Tybalt's slander: my reputation is stained by Tybalt's slander of me. Tybalt's "slander" was calling Romeo "villain" and "boy."
109   This gentleman, the prince's near ally,
110   My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
111   In my behalf; my reputation stain'd
112   With Tybalt's slander,—Tybalt, that an hour
113   Hath been my kinsman! O sweet Juliet,
114   Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
115. temper: nature.
115   And in my temper soften'd valour's steel!

           Enter BENVOLIO.

116   O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
117. aspired the clouds: mounted to the clouds.
118. Which too untimely here did scorn the earth: i.e., Mercutio's spirit, at the wrong moment, scorned the safety of life on earth.
117   That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
118   Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.

119. This day's black fate on moe days doth depend: This day's black fate threateningly hangs over more days [in the future].
119   This day's black fate on moe days doth depend;
120   This but begins the woe others must end.

           [Enter TYBALT.]

121   Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.

122   Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain!
123. respective lenity: considerate gentleness.
124. conduct: guide.
123   Away to heaven, respective lenity,
124   And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!
125   Now, Tybalt, take the "villain" back again,
126   That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio's soul
127   Is but a little way above our heads,
128   Staying for thine to keep him company:
129   Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.

130   Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
131   Shalt with him hence.

131. This shall determine that: i.e., My sword will decide whether or not I will join Mercutio in death.

131                                      This shall determine that.

           They fight; Tybalt falls.

132   Romeo, away, be gone!
133. up: in arms.
134. amazed: stupefied.
133   The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
134   Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death,
135   If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away!

136. fool: plaything, dupe.
136   O, I am fortune's fool!

136                                      Why dost thou stay?

           Exit Romeo.

           Enter CITIZENS.

      First Citizen
137   Which way ran he that kill'd Mercutio?
138   Tybalt, that murderer, which way ran he?

139   There lies that Tybalt.

      First Citizen
139. Up, sir, go with me: It's a bit comic to see the citizen ordering the dead Tybalt to get up and go with him to the Prince.
139                                       Up, sir, go with me;
140   I charge thee in the Prince's name, obey.

           Enter PRINCE, old MONTAGUE,
           CAPULET, their WIVES, and all.

141   Where are the vile beginners of this fray?

142. discover: reveal, explain.
143. unlucky manage: unfortunate course of events.
142   O noble prince, I can discover all
143   The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl:
144   There lies the man, slain by young Romeo,
145   That slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio.

146   Tybalt, my cousin! O my brother's child!
147   O prince! O cousin! husband! O, the blood is spilt
148   O my dear kinsman! Prince, as thou art true,
149   For blood of ours, shed blood of Montague.
150   O cousin, cousin!

151   Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?

152   Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo's hand did slay;
153. that spoke him fair: who spoke to him civilly.
154. How nice the quarrel was: how trivial the cause of the quarrel was. 155. and urged withal / Your high displeasure: i.e., and also reminded Tybalt that you would be extremely angry at another street fight.
157. take truce: make peace. unruly spleen: i.e., irrational bad temper.
153   Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethink
154   How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
155   Your high displeasure: all this uttered
156   With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow'd,
157   Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
158   Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
159   With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast,
160   Who all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
161   And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
162   Cold death aside, and with the other sends
163   It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity,
164   Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud,
165   "Hold, friends! friends, part!" and, swifter than his tongue,
166   His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
167   And 'twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm
168. envious: malicious.
169. stout: proud, fierce.
168   An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
169   Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
170   But by and by comes back to Romeo,
171. entertain'd: i.e., begun to think of.
172. ere: before.
173. stout: proud, fierce.
171   Who had but newly entertain'd revenge,
172   And to 't they go like lightning, for, ere I
173   Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.
174   And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
175   This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.

176   He is a kinsman to the Montague;
177   Affection makes him false; he speaks not true:
178   Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,
179   And all those twenty could but kill one life.
180   I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give;
181   Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.

182   Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio;
183. dear: precious, costly.
183   Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?

184   Not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio's friend;
185. concludes: puts an end to.
185   His fault concludes but what the law should end,
186   The life of Tybalt.

186                                    And for that offence
187   Immediately we do exile him hence.
188. interest: personal stake.
189. My blood: i.e., the blood of my kinsman, Mercutio.
190. amerce: punish by a fine.
188   I have an interest in your hate's proceeding,
189   My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding;
190   But I'll amerce you with so strong a fine
191   That you shall all repent the loss of mine.
192   I will be deaf to pleading and excuses;
193. purchase out abuses: buy out [the punishment for] misdeeds.
193   Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses:
194   Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,
195   Else, when he's found, that hour is his last.
196. attend our will: be on hand to hear my further judgment.
197. Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill: i.e., having mercy on a murderer only invites others to murder, because they think they will be given mercy, too.
196   Bear hence this body and attend our will;
197   Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.