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Romeo and Juliet

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Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO
BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO enter.


MERCUTIO
Where the devil should this Romeo be?
Came he not home tonight?
MERCUTIO
Where the devil can Romeo be? Didn’t he come home last night?

BENVOLIO
Not to his father’s. I spoke with his man.
BENVOLIO
Not to his father’s house. I asked a servant.


5
MERCUTIO
Why, that same pale hard-hearted wench, that Rosaline,
Torments him so, that he will sure run mad.
MERCUTIO
That fair-skinned, hard-hearted hussy, Rosaline is going to torment him until he goes insane.


BENVOLIO
Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.
BENVOLIO
Tybalt, old Capulet’s nephew, has sent a letter to Romeo’s father’s house.

MERCUTIO
A challenge, on my life.
MERCUTIO
I bet it’s a challenge.

BENVOLIO
Romeo will answer it.
BENVOLIO
Romeo will answer the challenge.

10
MERCUTIO
Any man that can write may answer a letter.
MERCUTIO
Any man who knows how to write can answer a letter.

BENVOLIO
Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he dares, being dared.
BENVOLIO
No, Romeo will respond to the letter’s writer, telling him whether he accepts the challenge.

MERCUTIO
Alas, poor Romeo! He is already dead, stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, shot through the ear with a love song, the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt shaft. And is he a man to encounter Tybalt?
MERCUTIO
Oh, poor Romeo! He’s already dead. He’s been stabbed by a white girl’s black eye. He’s been cut through the ear with a love song. The center of his heart has been split by blind Cupid’s arrow. Is he man enough at this point to face off with Tybalt?

BENVOLIO
Why, what is Tybalt?
BENVOLIO
Why, what’s Tybalt’s story?

MERCUTIO
More than Prince of Cats. Oh, he’s the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion. He rests his minim rests—one, two, and the third in your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal passado, the punto reverso, the hai!
MERCUTIO
He’s tougher than the

Prince of Cats

The Prince of Cats is a figure from Medieval lore whose first name was also Tybalt.

Prince of Cats
. He does everything by the book. He fights like you sing at a recital, paying attention to time, distance, and proportion. He takes the proper breaks: one, two, and the third in your heart. He’s the butcher who can hit any silk button. A master of duels. He’s a gentleman from the finest school of fencing. He knows how to turn any argument into a swordfight.

He knows

Mercutio lists Italian terms for fencing moves.

He knows
passado—the forward thrust—the punto reverso—the backhand thrust—and the hai—the thrust that goes straight through.

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