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Plague

Unhappy Fortune! The Plague in the Plays

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Shakespeare killed scores of his characters — by sword, by dagger, by poison, by flame, by drowning, by hanging, by murder, by suicide, by accident — men, women, children, all ages, killed by many means, even by a bear. But the deaths of only two of his central characters can be attributed to the plague, and even then, only by proximate cause, not directly by the plague.
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A Plague and a Scourge

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Mercutio’s curse, “A plague o’ both your houses!” is fulfilled, although not literally. Despite the numerous ways scores of characters die in Shakespeare’s plays, no one in this play or any other Shakespeare play dies of the plague. But the plague is the proximate cause of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths.  When Friar Lawrence sends Friar John to deliver a letter to Romeo telling him of Juliet’s fake death,
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I am hurt. A plague o’ both houses!

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Mercutio
I am hurt.
A plague o’ both houses! I am sped.
Is he gone and hath nothing?
Benvolio
What, art thou hurt?
Mercutio
Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch. Marry, ’tis enough.
Where is my page?—Go, villain, fetch a surgeon.
   Page exits.

No, ’tis not so deep as a well,
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Source:
Act 3
Scene 1
Line 93

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Spoken by:
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Themes:
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Figures of Speech:

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A Plague and a Scourge