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Analyse the character of Tybalt and explore his role in the play 'Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Analyse the character of Tybalt and explore his role in the play 'Romeo and Juliet.' Even though he is considered a minor character, Tybalt has, in fact, a huge impact on the storyline of 'Romeo and Juliet' and is involved in the bringing about of the tragedy at the end of the play. He is cousin to Juliet and therefore a Capulet. Throughout the course of the play he is evolved in several brawls in the streets of Verona. The fight with Benvolio is stopped by the prince, the one relating to Mercutio is a success for Tybalt, but when he faces Romeo, whose anger has been kindled by the murder of his friend, he fails and is killed by Romeo. This all leads to Romeo's banishment and misunderstandings and miscommunications that cause the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet. In this essay I will be considering the words and actions of Tybalt, his characterisation and the effect that he has on the play and on the audience. The first time Tybalt appears is in act I scene I. A fight has broken out between a group of Montague and Capulet servants, and Benvolio, a Montague, is getting himself involved to try to cease the dispute, when Tybalt, a Capulet, arrives and taunts Benvolio then attacks him forcing him to turn and fight. His first words in the scene are verbally abusive toward Benvolio and both Montague and Capulet servants. He describes them as; 'heartless hinds.' In the 1590's, around the time this play was written, female servants would have been referred to as 'hinds.' Calling the servants this, implies that the argument that the servants are having can be compared to a group of females squabbling over a matter that is not of great importance and that Benvolio is just like them by trying to resolve it. Secondly, Tybalt is an egotistical and overconfident male who prides himself in his swordplay expertise. ...read more.

Middle

Lord Capulet proves that he knows the nature of his nephew when he says; '...God shall mend my soul, You'll make a mutiny among my guests? You will set c**k-a-hoop, you'll be the man?' He is accusing Tybalt of wanting to pursue an opportunity to fight to improve his own reputation of being a man. The second insult is when Lord Capulet uses the expression; 'You are a saucy boy.' The word 'saucy' here is implying that Tybalt is insolent, which was stronger in Shakespeare's time. In addition, Lord Capulet calls Tybalt a 'boy,' which suggests that Tybalt is being immature about the situation. The final insult I am going to talk about is; 'You are a princox,' This, again, means insolent boy, which is once more saying that Tybalt is disrespectful and immature Tybalt previously says that he will kill Romeo to protect his family honour. The way you treated the leader of your family reflected your respect for your family its self. He then argues; 'Why, uncle, 'tis a shame-' By contradicting his uncle, Tybalt displays his lack of respect for his uncle's authority. He puts his own needs and wants before his uncle's commands. Therefore proving that he does not want to kill Romeo to uphold his families reputation, but for his own satisfaction. Tybalt eventually consents to let Romeo alone. But cautions his uncle; 'I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall, Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.' This is again a foreshadowing of the future because he is warning his uncle and the audience that he will seek vengeance and that he will get his revenge for this intrusion. These last words leave the audience expecting the worst from Tybalt. This scene now makes it inevitable, in the minds of the audience, that Tybalt will have something to do with tragedy, some way or another. In act II scene IV Tybalt does not actually appear. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tybalt's move here was very unsportsmanlike and illegal move to make, as Romeo was standing in Mercutio's line of vision and would, therefore, given Mercutio no chance to defend himself. The murder of Mercutio has penetrated the temperate nature of Romeo and he is now ready to fight. Distressed, Romeo explains that Mercutio's soul is waiting a little way above the scene and cannot rest until one of them follows him to heaven. Tybalt is blood-thirsty and responds; 'Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here, Shalt with him hence.' Tybalt is showing no remorse but explains that he is prepared to kill Romeo so he can join his friend, and Tybalt's mind can rest knowing that he has protected his own personal reputation. After all it was Romeo who Tybalt wanted to kill. Now that Romeo has killed Tybalt, the audience is left with a fear and doubt about Romeo's future. His banishment is making clear the inevitable future tragedy and our suspicions are proved true as the play continues. My analysis of Tybalt has led me to discover that he is the only character who has such an ill-tempered nature and who speaks with such aggression. In the three scenes that he is in and even in the scene he is only discussed, he brings the audience an anxiety that builds tension throughout the scenes. His every action and word foreshadows the future, from which the audience can predict the horrific tragedy. In addition his actions have an effect on the behaviour of other characters. An example of this is Mercutio's murder. His death caused Romeo to change his usual good temperament, and to seek revenge. This inevitably has a major effect on the plot. He is used as a dramatic devise and as a catalyst for action and the eventual tragedy. The audience have a feeling of dread. So to conclude, the minor character that is Tybalt is a major dramatic devise that causes and foreshadows the tragic end of the play 'Romeo and Juliet' ...read more.

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