Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide} » ✔️
Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Full Summary

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Full Summary {Step by Step Guide}

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Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Full Summary| Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 4 Summary

Mercutio, Romeo’s friend and a relative of the Prince of Verona, goes with Benvolio and Romeo to the Capulet party. They see others outside, some with masks and some with torches.

Mercutio, Benvolio, and Romeo have come to the party as maskers’ guests who go to a party, wear a mask, and perform a dance to entertain others. They are judged by the other guests.

Romeo wonders if he should say his introductory speech as they enter the Capulet home. Romeo asks Benvolio, “What, shall this speech speak for an excuse? Or shall we on without apology?”

Benvolio says, “The date is out of such prolixity.” “Prolixity” means a long speech or piece of writing, and Benvolio is telling Romeo to not say his speech because it is old-fashioned.

Benvolio says they won’t have someone dress up like Cupid (the god of love) to introduce them. They won’t have someone carry a bow and arrow like Cupid or a Tartar (a savage from Mongolia or Turkey), and they won’t have someone dress up like a scarecrow.

They won’t give a memorized speech with one of them reading and prompting the other one with lines written on paper. They will just go in, dance, be judged, and leave.

Romeo says his mood is “heavy.” [He is sad because Rosaline does not love him.] Romeo says he will not dance; he will carry the light.

[Romeo is making a pun here. He is playing with the words “heavy” and “light.” The word “heavy” can mean a bad mood or weighing a lot. The word “light” can mean a torch, happiness, or weighing very little.

Romeo is saying since he feels heavy and sad, he will not dance. Instead, he will carry a light, even though he does not believe it will make him feel less weighted by sadness.]

Mercutio says that he and Benvolio want Romeo to dance. Romeo just keeps making puns. He says Mercutio has dancing soles (the bottoms of shoes), but Romeo has a heavy soul (spirit or mood). Mercutio tells Romeo that because he is a lover, Romeo can borrow Cupid’s wings and fly high.

Romeo says even with Cupid’s wings, he can’t fly (make a high jump while dancing) because Cupid’s arrow is deep inside him and Romeo’s love is so heavy that he is sinking.

Mercutio still wants Romeo to get over being sad, so Mercutio makes a sexual joke. Mercutio says Romeo should know that if he sees love as a heavy thing, then it will be heavy. Romeo will be a heavyweight on the girl with whom he wants to have sex.

Mercutio says it is wrong to put heaviness on love because love is tender. Romeo says love is not tender. It is rough and noisy. Love “pricks like thorn.” Mercutio says that if love is rough on Romeo,

Romeo should be rough on love. Mercutio says Romeo can cure his love-sickness by having sex. Mercutio’s line is “Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down”.

Note: This section makes readers wonder if Romeo and his friends see any difference between sex and love.

Mercutio says he must give himself a mask to put his face in. Then he will have a mask covering a mask. The mask, with its heavy eyebrows, will blush (show only the emotion painted on it) and hide any imperfections curious people might look for on his real face.

After they all put on their masks, Benvolio says that they should knock and enter. As soon as they get in, they should begin to dance.

Romeo says again that he will not dance, but will carry a torch. He says he knows a “grandsire phrase,” a saying that a person cannot lose if he does not play. Romeo will not lose the game of love if he does not play.

Romeo says the game (the girl he wants Rosaline) has never been more beautiful, but he is “done” (finished with) chasing after her.

Mercutio makes another pun by playing with the word “done.” He says, “Dun’s the mouse, the constable’s own word.” Dun is a brown color, the color of a mouse.

A mouse is quiet, and Mercutio insults policemen by saying constables liked the word “dun,” meaning they were quiet because they did nothing.

Mercutio continues playing with the word “dun,” saying Romeo is Dun the horse, an old game where a person tries to pull a log called a “dun” out of the mud.

Mercutio is saying that Romeo is stuck, not in mud, but in love. Mercutio apologizes for being rude but says he and Benvolio will pull Romeo out of love.

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Mercutio says, “Come, we burn daylight, ho!” He obviously means that they are wasting time and should go to the party. Romeo delays going in by saying that it is night, not day, so they are not burning daylight.

Mercutio says he means they are wasting the light for their torches while they talk instead of going in. That is the same as wasting daylight.

He asks Romeo to accept the “meaning” of Mercutio’s words. Romeo should use his five “wits” (senses) and stop playing around.

Romeo does not stop playing with words. He plays with the words “meaning” and “wit.” He says, “And we mean [intend] well in going to this mask [party), But ’tis no wit [wisdom] to go.”

Mercutio asks why Romeo thinks it is not a good idea to go to the party. Romeo says he had a dream the night before.

Mercutio is not interested in hearing about Romeo’s dream, so Mercutio says he had had a dream, too. He says his dream had told him that “dreamers often lie.”

Romeo makes another joke and plays with the word “lie” because it can mean “to say something not true” or “to stretch out your body (on the ground, a sofa, a bed, etc)” Romeo says that dreamers lie in bed, but dream about the truth.

Mercutio says Queen Mab has been with Romeo. Mercutio wants to get Romeo into the party, so he tries to show Romeo that his dream about it being unwise to go to the party is foolish.

When Romeo asks who Queen Mab is, Mercutio tells a story that has two very different meanings. The obvious one is a fairy tale, but the hidden story, like reality, has some ugliness.

When Mercutio first puts on his mask, he says he is putting a mask over a mask. He means that a mask hides a person’s thoughts and feelings and a person can also turn his own face into a mask if he does not allow emotions to show.

When we do not see emotions on a person’s face, it is hard to know that person’s thoughts. The story Mercutio tells about Queen Mab is like an emotionless face. We have to listen to the words carefully to understand the truth.

What Mercutio’s Says- The Fairy TaleWhat Mercutio Means- The Hidden Story
Mercutio says that queen mab is the fairies’ midwife, and she must have visited Romeo the night before.

[A midwife is a woman who helps pregnant women with the births of their babies. Queen Mab helps dreamers give birth to dreams].

“Queen” and “Mab” are both old words that mean “prostitute”.

Queen or Quean?

Mercutio says Queen mab is the same size as the stone on the ring an alderman wears.An Alderman is a city leader, a councilman. An alderman is not as rich as a nobleman but likes to look important.

Mercutio’s alderman wears a pretty ring, but the agate stone is not valuable.

A quean (a prostitute) dresses to be noticed, but she does not have a lot of money. She ends up looking trashy.

Some things in dreams may be real, but when put together, they are impossible. [Romeo does not need to worry about dreaming that he should not go to the Capulet party.]Queen Mab drives a chariot made from a hazelnut shell, emptied by a squirrel or worm. She carries a whip with a handle made of a cricket’s
bone and a lash made of a thread.The covering of her chariot is made of grasshopper wings. The spokes of the wheels are spider legs. Queen Mab’s driver is a gnat. The chariot is pulled by animals the size of atoms Their collars are made of moonlight.
Queen Mab makes people dream by taking her chariot across their noses.Feeling something like an itchy nose might make someone start to dream.
When people are in love, they dream about the person they love.Queen Mab rides through the brains of lovers and makes them dream of love.
Queen Mab rides over courtiers’ knees and makes them want to curtsey.People who are members of the royal court dream of being friends of those in the highest authority. They hope to get power by complimenting their leaders.
Queen Mab files over lawyers’ fingers and they dream of money.Lawyers are more interested in money than law, so they dream of money.

Mercutio’s examples of what people dream about show Romeo that people do not dream about what will happen, but of what they
want to happen.

They also show that people make decisions based on love, the desire for power, or greed.

Mercutio gives other examples where Queen Mab makes women dream of being kissed, priests dream of people giving the church a lot of money, and soldiers dream of cutting the throats of enemies.

Sometimes people, like the soldiers, are scared by their dreams. They wake up, pray, and go back to sleep. Queen Mab likes to cause trouble. Sometimes she tangles the hair of people and horses and gives virgins dreams of sex.

Romeo has heard enough about Queen Mab. He asks Mercutio to be quiet. Romeo says Mercutio is talking about nothing. Mercutio agrees.

He says he is talking about dreams which are children of a brain that has nothing to do. Dreams are prideful products of a person’s imagination.

Dreams are as thin as air and as predictable as the wind – wind that acts like a lover to the frozen North and then gets angry and turns to the South.

Benvolio says that the wind that they are talking about (their long conversation) is blowing them off course (away from the Capulet party instead of towards it). Benvolio says that supper is over, and they may be too late to enter.

Romeo says he is afraid of some “consequence” if they go in. He worries that “the stars,” that is fate, are beginning events that night, and that those events will “expire the term of” (end) Romeo’s life with an “untimely” (early) death.

Romeo says he will go in because he will trust his future to “He, that hath the steerage of my course” (God). Romeo compares himself to a sailing ship and tells his friends, “Direct my sail” (lead him in). They finally enter the Capulet house.

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