A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Below is a slightly edited e-mail conversation between myself and one of my editors, Oni Press' Maryanne Snell, regarding the Mercutio question.

MS:There aren't necessarily more Mercutios than Romeos. There might be tons more of those other friends of his whose names aren't really worth remembering, because they're just sheep. There are few Romeos because really, how many people are that dramatic, impulsive, and ultimately stupid? (And let's face it, most leading men on some level are at least kind of stupid in some way.) And as for Mercutio, no one else was as clever, witty, or put out by other's stupidity. So the Romeos of the world are lucky if they get a Mercutio, because mostly they just get sheep. I have no idea if that makes any sense, but Mercutio's also my favorite, and it's because he's different than the rest of them; he still might be a sidekick, but he's the one you'd want to have. 

JSR: Yeah, but we’re talking archetypes here. The sheep at least flock with other sheep. Mercutio, however, gets passed over and dies so other people can screw up at love (or so the sentence I’ve been toying with goes). I am thinking that a future Lance Scott serial may be called “Romeo May Be Bleeding, but Mercutio is Dead.”

MS: Right, but what I'm saying is how many people (characters) will actually die so other people can screw up? I'm not questioning the archetype, just how prevalent it is in comparison to others.
I like the sentence, and the title. Poor Mercutio, at least he got to curse them before he died.

JSR: So, being unique is the consolation prize of the consolation prize? I think that’s a rather moth-eaten blanket for us also-rans. ;)

MS: I never claimed there was a consolation prize. Mercutio's death is stupid and pointless. Romeo's was too, but at least he chose it. Mercutio never asked for the drama. Although there was a story I read once where Mercutio was actually in love with the original girl that Romeo was after, so gave him a love potion so he'd fall in love with someone else, thus starting the whole thing, and somehow he ends up not dying but I don't remember how that part worked.

Who is Lance sidekick to? Romeo, or Juliet?

JSR: Romeo. The world.

I am thinking in terms of larger symbols or types than the specifics of the one story. If we take the play as a representation of society, and each person falls into a role (most of them, I think, being Benvolio, from what you’re saying), Mercutio is the one left alone. In a modern case, he'd actually probably be "just friends" with Juliet, and he'd know that Romeo was wrong for her.

MS: Mercutio is left alone because he alone sees the truth of the situation (or at least tries to). Everyone else is so tied up in their own stuff (obsession, love, revenge) that he can't get through to any of them. Including Juliet, who I definitley agree he'd be "just friends" with in this modern life. I guess that's ultimately his tragedy--he's kind of like Cassandra, he knows the truth and no one will listen to him, and he ends up dying along with everyone else, despite his knowledge.

Current Soundtrack: Arcadia remixes on a Russian knock-off DVD of a Japanese So Red the Rose video

Current Mood: exanimate

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[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

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