How did Mercutio Die: the Tragic Demise in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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In the first scene of act three, the play opens with Mercutio, Benvolio, and other men in the streets of Verona. Benvolio wishes to leave, stating, “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire. The day is hot; the Capulets, abroad; And if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl.”

Mercutio’s Personality and Conflict with Tybalt

He wishes not to battle with the Capulets. Mercutio doesn’t really care not, though, and continues walking in the streets. Soon Tybalt and other Capulets show up and begin to talk with Mercutio.

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Mercutio Responds to Tybalt’s requests by saying, “Couple it with something. Make it a word and a blow.” Antagonizing Tybalt. Benvolio tries to calm Mercutio down but fails. Romeo arrives. Tybalt declares his animosity towards Romeo and his intentions for battle, but Romeo doesn’t want to fight him. Mercutio is happy to take Romeo’s place and duels Tybalt. Romeo tells Benvolio to draw his sword and help break up the fight.

Mercutio is killed by Tybalt, and Tybalt is then killed by Romeo. The civilians arrive, and Romeo runs to escape the prince’s wrath. The prince declares, “Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill,” saying that Romeo is exiled from Verona forever. After the battle, the Nurse comes to Juliet, who is happy about her marriage. She soon becomes sad when she hears the news that Tybalt is dead and Romeo is exiled. Juliet wishes to see her Romeo again, so she sends the Nurse to retrieve him and give him her ring, “O, find him! Give this ring to my true knight, And bid him come to take his last farewell.” Romeo goes and hid himself inside the Friar’s cell and is somberly eager to hear his sentence from the prince. When the Friar tells him that he has only been exiled, he reacts like, “Ha, banishment! Be merciful, says “death,” meaning that he would rather die than be banished from Verona and Juliet. Romeo says, “There is no world without Verona walls.” The Nurse then shows up and tells Romeo about Juliet, and this makes him incredibly sad. He was sad enough to nearly kill himself, but the Friar talked him down and convinced him that he should still live. The Nurse then told him to come to Juliet and gave him the ring. We then open with Paris and Lord and Lady Capulet talking about marriage. Lord Capulet tells Paris to wait until Thursday so that Juliet can grieve and sends Paris away. He then sends his wife to tell Juliet, who isn’t very excited about having to marry Paris. Lord Capulet comes up to Juliet and is not very happy about this telling his daughter, “Out, you green sickness, carrion! Out, you baggage! You tallow face.”


Juliet’s parents tell her that she either marries Paris or is shunned and kicked out. She tries to find help from the Nurse, but she tells her that she should just give up on Romeo and marry Paris. This makes Juliet feel sad and powerless and ends with her saying that she will seek help from Friar Lawrence, and if that doesn’t work, “If all else fail, myself have the power to die.” She is ready to die if she can’t get help.


  1. Shakespeare, William. “Romeo and Juliet.”, 2011


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How Did Mercutio Die: The Tragic Demise in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (2023, Aug 20). Retrieved from