At the time Mercutio tends to make his renowned “Queen Mab” speech in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, he and Romeo, with each other with a group of their buddies and kinsmen, are on the way to a party given by their family’s arch-enemy, Lord Capulet. Their plan is to crash the celebration so that Romeo may well have the opportunity to see his current really like, Rosaline, whom they know has been invited to the Capulet’s masque that evening.
Romeo, whom his close friends seem to consider generally pretty witty and entertaining, initially believed the party-crashing would be a superb idea, but suddenly is overcome by a sense of excellent foreboding though they “mean well in going to this mask . . . ’tis no wit to go” (I, iv, 48-49). This annoys Mercutio, who does not recognize Romeo’s reluctance as a genuine premonition, but feels it is basically a further example of Romeo’s lovesick whims. Romeo tries to clarify to Mercutio that it is primarily based upon a very disturbing dream, and Mercutio passes that off as silly, telling him that “Dreamers normally lie.” Here he is not saying that Romeo himself is a liar, but that persons should really put no faith in dreams. But Romeo is insistent dreamers lie “in bed asleep, they do dream points accurate” (I, iv, 52).
This abruptly launches Mercutio into a speech that alters the complete pace of the scene. Up to now, the conversation has been typical of a group of men and women walking through the streets-brief phrases, a usually relaxed mood. With Mercutio’s words, “O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you!” he plunges into a forty-two line speech which is actually composed of only two sentences, giving him barely sufficient breath to pause amongst phrases. The gist of the speech issues Mab, whom Celtic mythology thought of to be the midwife of the fairies, and who also is held to be responsible for human beings’ dreams.
The Queen Mab speech is completely fanciful, describing, as if to a youngster, this tiny little creature who flies by way of the air in a small carriage, driven by a “wagoner” who is a gnat. On the surface this seems like it really should be charming, but when one particular boils it down, it isn’t charming at all. For instance, Queen Mab’s “cover” of her carriage is created of grasshopper wings, which implies that an individual will have to have pulled the grasshopper’s wings off to make it. Ditto for…