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Benvolio and Tybalt are two enemies who despise one another. Benvolio is a Montague whilst Tybalt is a Capulet. They both dislike each since there is an old grudge between their families. Shakespeare uses these characters to tell the audience a message: decent people stay alive whilst spiteful people die.
Benvolio is a Montague and is a good friend to Romeo.
He is a kind and good-willed gentleman. He is the kind of man that is respectful to his elders. He is a good friend, sensitive, and gives good advice to the ones feeling low. Benvolio is the type of person whom other people trust and respect since he is truly honest and loving.
Benvolio is a kind and good-willed gentleman because he always thinks about the good side to things and always has a good heart to do what’s right.
He is a good friend and is sensitive, especially towards Romeo because in Act one, Scene one, Benvolio sees that Romeo is depressed and is very unhappy and so he kindly tries to cheer Romeo up. Also showing that he is a good friend, he gives good advice in Act one, Scene one, to Romeo by saying that he should go to the party, forget about Rosaline and meet a new girl. When Romeo trusted Benvolio’s advice, he went to the party and fell in love with another girl named Juliet.
Benvolio is the type to keep the peace between people to keep everyone happy. In Act one, Scene one, he says:
I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
These lines suggest that Benvolio is telling Tybalt to put the sword away and keep the peace. Benvolio is known to be honest, trustworthy and respected because he is respectful to his elders. This can be seen when the Prince trusts him to be honest about what really happened when Tybalt and Mercutio died. Benvolio tells the Prince how Tybalt and Mercutio really died, and this honesty shows him to be a true hero.
It could also be argued that Benvolio could also be seen as a coward. He may be kind, good-willed, honest and respected, but perhaps he is a coward for trying to keep peace. Perhaps he is afraid and does not like to fight. This would mean that he is not a brave man; he is just afraid of things getting out of hand. Like in Act one, Scene one, he says, “Part fools, you know not what you do.” This quote suggests that Benvolio does not like to fight and he is a pacifist. Also, in Act three, Scene one, he suggests three different ways to stop the fight and he tries to keep the peace between the people by saying:
Either withdraw some private place,
Or reason coldly of your grievances:
Or else depart…
This tells me that perhaps he is a coward and perhaps he is afraid and can not face up to things going wrong.
On the other hand, Benvolio is not a coward just because he does not like to fight and he likes to keep the peace between people. He just does not want any of his friends to get hurt and so he does not like trouble. He is a sensitive person who does not want to see any of his friends depressed. Therefore, stopping fights and making his friends happy would make him a hero.
Benvolio, although he is not brave, is still respectable because he is kind, good-willed, honest and trustworthy. When Benvolio stops fights and keeps his friends happy, this makes him a hero even if we know that he is afraid of things getting out of hand.
In a strange way, Tybalt could also be seen as a hero. He is a Capulet and a cousin to Juliet. Tybalt is one of the leaders of the Capulets. He is witty, lively, humorous and brave. Tybalt is the type of person who is never afraid to stand up for himself and his people, this makes him a hero.
Tybalt is a clever person and even though he picks fights, he has reasons for this. Even though he enjoys picking fights, it shows that he is not afraid of anyone. He shows this by saying, “…talk of peace? I hate the word.” This shows that he hates peace and that he likes to pick fights. He is also a very lively person. Mercutio says that he has “nine lives” which shows that he is a good fighter. Tybalt is not bothered about getting hurt while fighting. An example of when Tybalt picks a fight is when he goes looking for Romeo in Act three, Scene one. But, like Benvolio, there are different ways to view Tybalt’s character.
It could also be argued that Tybalt is a trouble-maker. He is the type of person that is brave like a hero, but he is also an arrogant, angry and rude man. He is a hater of people who are not like him. This is known from when he says to Romeo, “As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.” This quotation tells us that as much as he is a hater of hell, this is the amount he hates the Montagues because they are not Capulets like he is. Tybalt also likes to fight which suggests that he is a trouble-maker. He is rude and arrogant when it is unnecessary. He is the type of person who gets angry easily. He is also very sarcastic and with his sarcasm, he makes people feel bad. Tybalt also causes fights and looks for trouble even though his family is against him picking fights with the Montagues.
On the other hand, Tybalt does not have to be known as a trouble-maker because he always has a good reason for picking fights. He does it knowing his family does not want him to fight, but he disobeys them because he wants to protect his family. This shows he is caring and that he is an emotional person, because if anything would have happened to his friends or family, then he would be extremely upset. This proves that he is just being protective to show his love for his family. Tybalt is a trouble-maker since he is impolite, conceited and an aggravated person, but he also acts this way to show love for the ones that mean most to him.
When Tybalt and Benvolio talk to one another, they use a certain type of language. They use “thee” and “thou” when they are talking casually to each other. This shows that they know each other and that they have seen one another before. When they speak to each other, they do so in Iambic Pentameter, which is a convention which helps the actors’ memorization, but also gives the impression that the characters are intelligent, eloquent and well spoken. When Tybalt talks to Benvolio, he uses ‘polite’ language without polite intentions. He says to Benvolio in Act one, Scene one:
What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
This suggests that he is calling Benvolio a coward in an elegant way, but is trying to cause trouble since his intentions are bad. But, when Benvolio talks to Tybalt, he is not insulting. He gives Tybalt choices and tries to defend himself. He says to Tybalt in Act one, Scene one:
I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
In the quotation above, there is an absence of insults and his speech is respectful. He does not try to pick a fight. The quotation tells us that Benvolio tries to defend himself, commands Tybalt to put his sword away and gives people choices which make people co-operate. This shows he is diplomatic. In Act three, Scene one, Benvolio talks calmly and tries not to show his fears whilst Tybalt is still looking for trouble.
When Tybalt and Mercutio fight, Mercutio is killed by Tybalt in a duel, and Tybalt himself dies in the duel. This shows that duelling is a dangerous sport where many noble men’s lives come to an end. It also shows that duelling was a problem during the Renaissance because it caused so many deaths. Tybalt believed in duelling because he thought it would get his problems sorted out. The reasons for him to duel were for revenge to show that he is not a coward nor afraid, so he feels the honour and so that he also feels courageous. Benvolio does not believe in duelling because anyone who was caught participating in a duel was executed. He thinks it is worthless since people die over silly problems, arguments and disagreements.
The fighting scene of the play has a message for us. It tells us that if you are an aggressive person like Tybalt, you will die. But, if you are a peaceful person like Benvolio, then you will stay alive. This message emphasised by how the play is directed.
If I were a stage director, I would set this movie in Las Vegas in America. I would set it in the twenty-first century because it is modern, interesting and easy to relate to. In Act one, Scene one, I would have Tybalt and Benvolio bumping into one another outside a night club unexpectedly and begin to have an argument and a fight. Then, in Act three, Scene one, I would have Mercutio being killed by Tybalt in a casino. Instead of a duel with swords, I would have Tybalt shooting Mercutio, but Romeo tries to stop the fight by trying to take the gun away from Tybalt. As Tybalt has a strong grip, Romeo would accidentally point the gun at Mercutio and it would go off. I then would have had Romeo kill Tybalt in a parking lot after Mercutio’s death. Tybalt would have been walking to his car, and then Romeo would take a knife from his back pocket and stab Tybalt three times in the stomach. Then, the honest, good-willed gentleman, Benvolio, would tell the Prince about what really happened with Mercutio’s and Tybalt’s death. So, the message of the story would still be clear. Aggressive people die whilst peaceful people live.
In conclusion, Benvolio and Tybalt are extremely important characters throughout this story. Tybalt is the reason for the disputes arising again between the Montagues and Capulets. The disputes started up again when Tybalt killed Mercutio and Romeo killed Tybalt. This makes Tybalt a type of person who tends to cause more problems between Montagues and Capulets. This keeps tension in the film as it is impossible for Romeo and Juliet to be together. Benvolio is important because he is the one that can be trusted and knows the truth about what really happened when Tybalt and Mercutio die. When Benvolio tells the truth about the deaths, this causes banishment for Romeo which then leads to death for Romeo and Juliet. This makes Benvolio important in the plot. Both Benvolio and Tybalt affect the plot which makes them more than strong symbols of good and bad.