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Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt give us three very different portraits of the young men who are part of Verona society. Compare these characters and their roles and their roles in the play.

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Introduction

Adam Lane 10r2 Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt give us three very different portraits of the young men who are part of Verona society. Compare these characters and their roles and their roles in the play. 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. ...read more.

Middle

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 couplets: "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 language. 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 with me?" ...read more.

Conclusion

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 gall." 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. ...read more.

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