The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0082 Tuesday, 27 January 1998.
Date: Monday, 26 Jan 1998 10:12:41 -0500
Subject: Mad Mab Man
Some of you may want to file this under "Well, duh!" But it just
occurred to me last night, as I read <italic>Romeo and Juliet</italic>:
Mercutio is mentally ill, isn't he? I don't mean daft or kooky. I think
he might be bipolar. He gets so carried away by his own fantastic
imaginings in the Queen Mab speech that Romeo has to calm him down, and
later he picks a fight with the best swordsman in Verona. He's the
quickest wit in the whole play, but I've known two schizophrenics who
were absolutely deadly with comebacks and insults.
Has anybody ever played Mercutio this way? I mean, really tried to suss
out what particular mental illness he might have, and then let that
inform the characterization?