What are two examples of a hyperbole in act 3 of "Romeo and Juliet"?

1 Answer
Jul 20, 2016

This one's easy! See below!


It all can be found in the very beginning of act 3, when Mercutio and Benvolio are loitering about waiting for this play to climax, basically. I believe that the hyperbole can be found in this brief monologue of Mercutio's:

"Thou art like one of those fellows that when he
enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword
upon the table and says 'God send me no need of
thee!' and by the operation of the second cup draws
it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need."

And then he continues on to say:

"Nay, an there were two such, we should have none
shortly, for one would kill the other. Thou! why,
thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more,
or a hair less, in his beard, than thou hast: thou
wilt quarrel with a man for cracking nuts, having no
other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes: what
eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel?
Thy head is as fun of quarrels as an egg is full of
meat, and yet thy head hath been beaten as addle as
an egg for quarrelling: thou hast quarrelled with a
man for coughing in the street, because he hath
wakened thy dog that hath lain asleep in the sun:
didst thou not fall out with a tailor for wearing
his new doublet before Easter? with another, for
tying his new shoes with old riband? and yet thou
wilt tutor me from quarrelling!"

These are easily two great examples of hyperboles. Based off of the characterization of Benvolio we know so far, we know that Benvolio is tame as a lamb. He takes morning walks and looks after his family and breaks up fights and generally shows concern about his friends and their wellbeing.

In these monologues, Mercutio is exaggerating the truth, maybe even teasing Benvolio by speaking of behavior that Mercutio himself might entertain -- sort of like a "Mercutio, don't fight!" and Mercutio responding with, "Me? FIGHT? You're the one who fights all the time!". It's pure sarcasm, depending on if you read it that way.

But that's besides the point. The behavior that Mercutio describes in these monologues is obviously exaggerated. The temper that he talks about is extremely over the top and only someone like Tybalt could harbor it.

Is that a good explanation for you? Let me know!