Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare
Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 3

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you. . . .
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomi
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep.

Mercutio’s famous Queen Mab speech is important for the stunning quality of its poetry and for what it reveals about Mercutio’s character, but it also has some interesting thematic implications (1.4.53–59). Mercutio is trying to convince Romeo to set aside his lovesick melancholy over Rosaline and come along to the Capulet feast. When Romeo says that he is depressed because of a dream, Mercutio launches on a lengthy, playful description of Queen Mab, the fairy who supposedly brings dreams to sleeping humans. The main point of the passage is that the dreams Queen Mab brings are directly related to the person who dreams them—lovers dream of love, soldiers of war, etc. But in the process of making this rather prosaic point Mercutio falls into a sort of wild bitterness in which he seems to see dreams as destructive and delusional.