Romeo and Juliet Essay
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Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most well known plays. One could speculate the reasons for this plays timeless qualities, but one of these reasons would undoubtedly be the uncanny use of classic humor that Shakespeare utilizes to cut the tension in between dramatic scenes and appeal to the humor of the Elizabethan audience from the most unsophisticated peasant to the most proper and formal noble of the era.

Humour has a very important role in Romeo and Juliet as it creates a vast array of emotions and prepares the audience/reader for more serious and less humorous events to come later on in the play. The most obvious form of humour that is evident in the play is the use of puns, jokes and ironic comments. These forms of humor are used most by the character of the Nurse and Mercutio. Other ways that comedy is presented to the audience is through the way that the characters in the play react towards certain situations in an unrealistic or grandeous way and also by the denouement and overall way the story is presented to the audience.

One of Shakespeare’s more obvious techniques to get a laugh from his audience is to have his characters directly insult one another. For example when Lord Capulet requests that Lady Capulet retrieve his sword and she replies “A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword?” mocking Capulet’s age and inability to put up as good of a fight as he would be able to if he were young. This statement is funny because it is unexpected and catches Capulet off guard and offends him. It is a direct insult from his wife and entertains the audience because it is direct and true.

Shakespeare manages to create a humorous environment by making the presence of two or three humorous characters present throughout the story, although there roles seem rather unimportant there presence is always felt. For example the characters of Mercutio, Peter and the nurse are the only characters in the play who are known to crack a joke now and than. Mercutio’s sense of humor is deliberate, picking apart other characters sentences for grammatical errors and making fun of there physical appearance, it is quite obvious when Mercutio is trying to be funny. Peter however, is obnoxious and slow witted and puns at the most inappropriate of times and seems to be completely silent at times when it would be appropriate. Peter’s lack of knowledge and social skills is quite humorous to the audience, and although Peter is a rather unimportant character his humour makes his presence felt and makes him a memorable character in the play.

Another character who plays another large role in supplying humor to the audience would be the Nurse. The nurse seems to have a very low intellect and gives the most innapropraite and strange witted views to Juliet and Lady Capulet that leave a lasting shock value on the audience and on the other characters in the play. The nurse only seems to appear before or after more dramatic and serious scenes breaking the tension that may have arisen from the previous scene. Apart from the more obvious techniques that Shakespeare uses to make the nurse more humorous would be the way that she behaves towards her masters and her employers such as Juliet and Lady Capulet. One example of this is when the nurse, after returning from Friar Lawrences cell with news from Romeo rants to Juliet about her back and her health claiming that Juliet should be ashamed that she sent her on such a long walk The audience finds this funny because of the way the nurse deliberately lengthens Juliet’s

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Character Of The Nurse And Uncanny Use Of Classic Humor. (April 15, 2021). Retrieved from