Romeo & Juliet's Benvolio vs Tybalt Essay
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In William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Benvolio and Tybalt are portrayed as characters with distinctly opposing personalities that is apparent in many different instances throughout the play. Romeo's best friend, Benvolio is depicted as the classic nice guy, incorporating all the personalities necessary to be one. He is calm, patient, an advocate of peace between the two rival families, and always viewing the cup as half full instead of half empty. During the first quarrel between the Montagues and the Capulets in the play, Benvolio tries to bring peace by saying " I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword, / Or manage it to part these men with me " ( , , 62-63). It is apparent that Benvolio has good intentions and that he…show more content…
In William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Benvolio and Tybalt are portrayed as characters with distinctly opposing personalities that is apparent in many different instances throughout the play. Romeo's best friend, Benvolio is depicted as the classic nice guy, incorporating all the personalities necessary to be one. He is calm, patient, an advocate of peace between the two rival families, and always viewing the cup as half full instead of half empty. During the first quarrel between the Montagues and the Capulets in the play, Benvolio tries to bring peace by saying " I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword, / Or manage it to part these men with me " ( , , 62-63). It is apparent that Benvolio has good intentions and that he favours peace over mutiny. In addition, his control over himself allows him to carefully analyze the situation. Shakespeare intended for him to be the typical protagonist that tries to save everyone from a crisis, where in this case the crisis is a civil battle between two noble households. Furthermore, Benvolio has the ability to empathize with people and understand their feelings. Proof of this is shown when Lady Montague questions Romeo's missing to which he responds with "So early walking did I see your son;/ Towards him I made, but he was 'ware of me/ And stole into the covert of the wood; / I, measuring his affections by my own,/ Which then most sought where most might not be found,/ Being one too many by my weary self,/ Pursued my humor
Character Comparison of Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
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Character Comparison of Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
In the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare there are two
families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Benvolio is a nephew to
Montague and Tybalt is a nephew to Lord and Lady Capulet. Mercutio is
a friend of Romeo, who is a member of the Montague family, and he is
also a nephew of the Prince.
Young men in Verona society were very aware of status and people would
never fight below their rank, this was seen as cowardly. Fencing was
very popular in Verona as there are many references to this. It was
the most popular sport, just like football in England now. People in
Verona also enjoyed wordplay, usually involving sexual puns. People
still do this today in jokes.
I will now examine the characters attitude to violence and fencing and
explore the similarities and differences. In the play Benvolio is
definitely the peacemaker because on many occasions when a fight is
going on Benvolio always tries to break it up.
"Part fools, put up your swords."
I think this quotation suggests that Benvolio thinks he is better than
the servants who are fighting and that he thinks they are "fools" for
fighting with each other.
He also gives biased accounts of the fights that take place, which
often aggravates Tybalt who has a "Fiery" temper and likes to keep
feuds on going:
"You shall find me apt enough to that sir, as you will occasion."
Tybalt is the most aggressive character in the play, and he always
tries to pick a fight. For example, in Act 3 scene 1 when he stabs
Mercutio he is one of the main initiators of the fight. Tybalt is very
loyal to the Capulet house, and he always gets revenge if something
"But this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest
This indicates that something bad is going to happen. I think it is
setting the scene for the murder.
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Mercutio is fairly similar to Tybalt in many ways, he is aggressive
and likes to fight. These two characters contrast greatly to Benvolio
who does not like fighting. Mercutio is not actually a Montague but he
is very loyal to Romeo and the Montague house. I think that Mercutio
just sticks up for people and what he believes in, he doesn't just go
around looking for fights. In Act 3 scene 1 Mercutio gets very
aggressive towards Tybalt who then goes on to stab him. I think this
was a murder because he easily loses his temper, "Tybalt, that
murderer, which way ran he?"
This suggests that everyone thinks it was a murder.
I will now look at the characters attitudes to status and sum up the
similarities and differences.
Benvolio does not seem to be interested in status because he is
accused of fighting with servants. This tells me that he does not care
about what status he has or anyone else has. His only aim is to keep
the peace. Benvolio usually speaks in prose although he does use verse
occasionally. However Tybalt speaks in blank verse to suggest that he
has a high rank.
"What are thou drawn among these heartless hinds?"
Tybalt is the one who accuses Benvolio of fighting below his rank and
he tries to provoke him, but he stays calm. Tybalt is very insulted
when Mercutio says, "A gentlemen of the very first house," this means
that Tybalt is not a real gentlemen and he is just a fighter. He also
insults Tybalt's language by saying that he is not very witty and he
does not deserve his high status.
Tybalt is a huge contrast to Benvolio because Benvolio doesn't care
about status, whereas Tybalt does because he accuses Benvolio of
fighting below his rank.
Mercutio is also different to Benvolio but he is fairly similar to
Tybalt because he says that Tybalt does not deserve his high status
because of his language. He also insults Tybalt's fighting skills
which is setting the scene for the fight.
"He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance and
Tybalt and Mercutio are fairly similar because they both appear to be
very proud of their status. They seem to be mocking each other about
things associated with status. Benvolio contrasts to these characters
as he does not appear to be bothered by status.
I will now examine the characters language throughout the play and sum
up the differences and similarities of the characters.
Benvolio's language changes throughout the play. When he is trying to
make peace he always commands.
"I do but keep the peace, Put up thy sword."
This tells me that Benvolio is trying to stop a fight from breaking
out. He uses forceful monosyllabic instructions to demand peace.
He rarely joins in the wordplay that the other characters are fond of.
In Act 1 scene 1 all of the characters use word play but Benvolio uses
simple language. However in Act 2 scene 4 he does join in the word
play with the others.
"Thou wouldst else have made thy tale large."
Benvolio uses poetic language when he talks about Romeo, "See where he
comes. So please you step aside."
He uses contrasts between light and dark, he also uses rhyming
"Compare her face with some that I shall show,
And I will make thee think thy swan a crow."
Benvolio is probably the wittiest person in the play judging by his
Tybalt always uses very aggressive language, he always commands people
to do things.
"To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin."
Tybalt is using very extreme language. This suggests that Tybalt is a
very aggressive character in contrast to Benvolio who commands to try
and keep the peace.
Tybalt is not witty enough to use the wordplay that Benvolio and
Mercutio use. He always uses simple language when he speaks. For
example in Act 3 scene 1, when everyone is using wordplay to build up
to the fight, however Tybalt doesn't join in, "What wouldst thou have
I believe that Tybalt is in the book as a contrast to Benvolio's
Mercutio loves to talk throughout the play. He uses numerous fantastic
imaginings in his Queen Mab speech in Act 1 scene 4.
"Her traces, of the smallest spider web; Her collars of the moonshines
Mercutio gets so carried away during this long speech that Romeo
interrupts, "Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace. Thou talk'st of nothing."
This suggests to me that Mercutio loves to hear his own voice.
Mercutio uses lots of sexual puns and in some cases he goes too far.
"For this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up
and down to hide his bauble in a hole."
Mercutio is fairly similar to Romeo because they both are very witty
and they regularly play on words. Tybalt is sometimes similar to
Benvolio because he commands to try and keep the peace. Tybalt never
joins in this wordplay with the other characters.
I will now investigate the characters attitudes towards the other
characters in the play and discuss the similarities and differences.
Benvolio's attitude towards Romeo is very good and he is a loyal
friend. He knows Romeo very well and tries to give him advice whenever
he can, "One fires out, anothers burning." He urges Romeo to find a
new love after Rosaline. This sets the scene for Juliet to emerge.
Benvolio frequently mocks Tybalt's fighting skills because he does not
believe in fighting and Tybalt always provokes people, "The fiery
Tybalt, with his sword prepared."
Tybalt is very aggressive towards the other characters. Tybalt really
hates Romeo, he wants revenge on him, he insults him throughout the
"Tis he that villain Romeo"
This was one of the worst insults in old Verona society.
Tybalt is actually related to Romeo through marriage, however he is
not aware of this. Romeo is married to Juliet who is Tybalt's cousin
and this is dramatically ironic because the other characters are
unaware of this, whereas the audience know they are married.
"Tybalt the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the
appertaining rage to such a greeting."
Mercutio always likes to have battles with words, normally with Romeo.
He always teases him about his lovesickness, "Romeo! Humours! Madman!
I think that he is jealous of Romeo because Romeo has found love and
he has not.
He regularly insults other characters like the nurse, "When it hoars
ere it be spent," and Tybalt, "That fights by the book of asthmetic."
I think that he is furious with Tybalt as he has just stabbed him and
he tries to get back at him.
Mercutio is a contrast to Benvolio because Benvolio always respects
his elders, whereas Mercutio likes to insult people. Tybalt contrasts
to Benvolio because Tybalt hates Romeo and does not respect anyone,
whereas Benvolio respects most people and is loyal to Romeo.
I will now look at the roles of the characters in the play and sum up
the similarities and differences.
Benvolio's role in the play is to act as a chorus to the play, to
clarify what has happened and remind the audience of key facts. For
example, " With piercing steel at bold Mercutio's breast."
He is also used as a contrast to Romeo's romance, Benvolio is more
practical in love. Once he has done his job in the play he leaves so
the spotlight goes on Romeo and Juliet.
Mercutio's role in the play is to contrast to Romeo, his love sickness
and his romantic language. Mercutio is a very lively character and his
view of love is different to Romeos.
"Without his roe like a dried herring."
He sets the scene for Romeo and Juliet's fate by describing Romeo's
other relationships which ended badly.
"Cleopatra a gipsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots."
He makes the play humorous and his death forwards the plot. When he
dies the comedy dies with him and the play gets serious.
Tybalt is in the play to contrast Benvolio's peacemaking, as Tybalt
always looks to start a fight. He also contrasts with Romeo's language
of love with his aggressive nature.
"To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin."
Tybalt forwards the plot by saying that he will get his revenge on
Romeo for gate crashing the Capulet party.
"But this intrusion shall, Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest
Tybalt leaves the play in Act 3 scene 1, after he kills Mercutio
because he has fulfilled his role.
Overall, I think that Benvolio is used as a contrast to Tybalt's
aggression and to summarise the play. Tybalt is there to show that
fighting was a big part of Verona society and to contrast to Romeo's
romantic language. Mercutio is in the play to liven it up and to add
comedy to it. I think that Tybalt was the best example of a typical
person in Old Verona. All of these characters leave the play in Act 3
scene 1 so that the audience can focus on Romeo and Juliet.