, Research Paper
Queens and Dreams, Real and Ideal
“A dream is a wish your heart makes,” according to Cinderella. Are dreams and fairytales an idealistic notion, or are they actually conceivable? In the play, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s best companion, Mercutio makes a speech reflecting upon the essence of dreams and fantasy. Basically, it provides a brief comic relief through its mocking tone towards Romeo’s latest infatuation. Romeo is obsessed with Rosaline who barely knows of his existence. Mercutio gibes Romeo through his famous monologue, which provides explicit imagery. Romeo remarks that he had a dream and Mercutio adds that he also had a dream. In Mercutio’s description of his dream the readers grasps a distinct image of Queen Mab, a fairylike figure who exploits and changes the dreams of people to those of mischief and materialism. Mercutio’s perception of Queen, the true nature of his character and the fact that dreams is the product of “routine thoughts of the day” are exposed and represented through this one monologue.
1.Mercutio presents the image of Queen Mab very clearly, and his perception of her is strange and interesting. 2.Touted “the fairies mid-wife”, Queen Mab possesses a name which is already ironic due to its wording and content. 3. A “fairy” typifies fantasy as a whole, lovely and untouched, innocent and beautiful. 4. A midwife brings to mind blood, life and death. 5. A fairy is a delicate figure, a midwife, an old hag. 6. The description of Queen Mab is also very mysterious and in a way surreal due to the fact that she is so small and almost scary. 7. “Her traces, of the smallest spider web/Her collars, of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams (Shakespeare 1.4.60-61). 8. Mercutio is describing her as ugly, using imagery that perceives her to not be attractive as she continues her mission to dilute the dreams of many people. 9. Her purpose is twisted, at times she gives people the dreams they want, “Through lovers brains’, and then they dream of love” (Shakespeare 1.4.70). 10. But, when she is mad, she “blisters with plagues” (Shakespeare 1.4.74). 11. To add to it, Queen Mab can be a woman of grave viciousness. 12. The queen can burden great distress upon an innocent being, allowing us to see the more evil side of Queen Mab. 13. Prototypes for her evil projects may have, “Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes/And thus being frighted, swears a prayer or two/And sleeps again” (Shakespeare 1.4.85). 14. Nightmares are terrible, and to inflict nightmares upon someone when able to is a terrible thing. 15. But that is Queen Mab, she is a stone-sized Queen of Fairyland, or is she the Queen of Unfair dreaming? 16. Mercutio’s perceives her to be a figure of great complexity, as she can provide wonderful dreaming one moment then a nightmare the next. 17. He uses her fabric and materialism to mock fun at Romeo, whose love for Rosaline is fake, in Mercutio’s yes. 18. Queen Mab is an evil individual, because she abuses the power given to her, that of dream adjusting.
1.Mercutio’s true character is revealed through this monologue, including his attitude toward life. 2. In essence, Queen Mab is an evil being, although at he proposition of a queen, the connotation is one that is positive and lovely. 3. Twisting, complex and unpredictable is Queen Mab, in a way; she is similar to Mercutio himself. 4. At the beginning of the play, Mercutio continuously jeers Romeo for his love for Rosaline, saying, “if love be rough with you, be rough with love” (Shakespeare 1.4.27). 5. He is not understanding and patient, though he is willing to give petty and wrongful advice like that of above. 6. What kind of friend is he? 7. His view on life is one of great intricacy; he is confusing and demeaning. 8. Mercutio uses this monologue to poke fun at his friend Romeo, to get him to realize that his feelings for Rosaline are as materialistic and fake as the dreams of Queen Mab. 9. The dreams are inconsistent, and unbelievable. 10. Ranging from, “lover’s brains, and then they dream of love/ And then dreams he of smelling out a suit/…And then dream he of cutting foreign throats (Shakespeare 1.4.70,78,83). 11. The dreams are strange and confusing, as is Mercutio as a person. 12. He is inconsistent, one moment he is mocking Romeo, the next, giving him advice. 13. Through it all, Mercutio and Queen Mab share one common bond, the fact that they are evil. 14. The queen provides sleepers with artificial dreams, thus causing them great distress. 15 Mercutio, on the other hand is neither sensitive nor understanding of Romeo, and mocking him adds to the fact he is mean and corrupt, without even realizing he is. 16. Mercutio is evil, yet not evil-minded, as he does not realize his words or action; he is another confused youth, struggling to fathom life as a whole.17. Mercutio’s attitude on life is such, artificiality rules all, and it will be the downfall. 18. He likens Romeo’s love for Rosaline with dreams; they are ideal, not real. 19. Dreams are not used to improve, but to provide in the time you are sleeping, nothing more. 20. Mercutio believes that life is full of artificiality and idealism, like Queen Mab and her dreams, and he is not tolerant of those who differ with him on the subject.
1.Mercutio’s speech can be likened to a quote of the famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. 2. He states, “the view that dreams are not messages of fate but the product of the routine thoughts of the day. Lovers dream of love, courtier’s dream of curtsies, lawyer’s of fees; soldiers of war and drink, and so on. This is one of Shakespeare’s modern sounding rationalisms.” 3. The above quote by Asimov holds very true and interesting. 4. In the monologue it is clearly stated that, “lovers’ brains, and they dream of love/ Lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees/ Ladies lips, who straight on kisses dream” (Shakespeare 1.4.71). 5. Yes, dreams are comprised of what is thought about during the course of a day. 6. Yet, in the play, the fact that a fairy queen controls dreams contradicts Asimov and his ideas. 7. It is a fair notion to make that dreams are ideal, they are what we wish them to be, and no one can interrupt or distract that in anyway. 8. Opposing that thought is Queen Mab, she is the one that changes dreams, makes them ideal and in the process, very harmful. 9. Shakespeare attempts to use Queen Mab as a symbol for the artificiality of artificiality. 10. The fact that she is utilized to change the ideal of the idealism of dreams. 11. It is almost abused, and overworked, yet the quote above instates the fact that dreams are just byproducts of our thoughts and nothing more, and only something more ideal than itself, in this case a fairy, can turn it into something superficial. 12. Asimov seems to understand this very well and identifies that even the Queen Mab image can not stray away from the fact that dreams are ideal, yes, but dreaming is real. 13. Even Queen Mab and her vicious ways cannot deteriorate that fact. 14. The proposition that dreams are ideal and never real is a notion that is in actuality incorrect. Dreams may be the product of day’s thoughts, or they can be affected from the touch of a fairy like Queen Mab, but which holds truer?
Mercutio’s monologue of Queen Mab is one of the greatest pieces of text ever written as it reveals idealism and dreams and compares them to his friends love for a girl. What is least expected to happen, happens, which is the final touch to an already interesting piece. But, the speech is not only about Romeo’s love, it is about idealism and reality, and the boundary between the two. Mercutio intends for Queen Mab to be scary and evil, and to personify all that is ideal, yet he begins to incorporate dreams and how people feel about them, and to him, all this is ideal. Yet, it is real, and that is explained by Isaac Asimov, that however surreal or artificial dreaming may be, it always returns to being real. In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare idealism and reality are struggling against one another as they strive to see which one is the explanation of the monologue by Mercutio.
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