The Instigator


“Benvolio, look upon thy death” (1.1.64). In each rivalry, there are parties of people that hold deeper and more profound hatreds to their foes. Thus, rivalries, especially family feuds, entice people to war amongst each other. This warring between two parties, contorts into an intriguing, yet a deadly plot. Tybalt’s hatred overplays his reason. William Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, vividly illustrates this behavior of hatred that Tybalt displays and shows how Tybalt’s aggression results in death. Shakespeare portrays Tybalt as a contentious and, at the same time, cordial man of the Capulet family. His hatred toward the Montagues is displayed throughout the play and, profoundly, one sees that Tybalt shares a deeper hatred than even the head of the feud, Capulet. His way of dealing with his hatred is to let it out by aggression. Tybalt is one of the major characters of the play, in the aspect, he is responsible for the major turn of events, as his action turn the preceding part of the play from a short comedy into a full-length tragedy.
On the streets of Verona, Tybalt and his subject run into their warring counterparts, Benvolio and Mercutio, of the Montague household. Being a peaceful man, Benvolio talks of peace, trying to stay away from any further clashes. Nevertheless, at the sound of the word “peace” Tybalt illustrates his animosity toward the Montagues, as he repulsively responds, “I hate the word / As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee” (1.1.68-69). This remark was sparked after a short confrontation, which was stopped by citizens and peace officers. Later in the story, Mercutio describes Tybalt to Benvolio, “O, he is / the courageous caption of compliments. He fights as / you sing prick-song; keeps time, distance, and pro- / portion; rests me him minim rest, one, two, and the / third in your bosom: the very butcher of a silk but- / ton, a duelist, a duelist” (2.4.19-24). This illustrates that Tybalt is not only aggressive, but also very skilled at fighting through which his aggression shines.
Tybalt shares his vigorous and quarrelsome personality with his master, Capulet, at a masked, lavish party held by the Capulets. Tybalt sights Romeo there and is outraged at the intrusion. Tybalt asserts to his uncle, “Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe” (1.5.61). Capulet wisely advises and prohibits Tybalt from any violent reaction, stating that Romeo is well loved and respected. Preceding that, Tybalt announces to himself, more so, than to others, “Now, by the stock and honour of my kin / To strike him [Romeo] I hold it not a sin” (1.5.57-58). Tybalt refuses to step down from a Montague and while staying loyal to his lord, he leaves the party with rage and intended violence. Romeo’s intrusion at the Capulet’s party resulted in a spark that lit the long stored rage possessed by Tybalt.
The next day, following the ostentatious party, Tybalt is on a search for Romeo and revenge. Finding Benvolio and Mercutio, he declares his motives of finding Romeo, as his enmity increases. Romeo appears and offers the act of peace. Nevertheless, Tybalt proclaims, “Romeo, the love I bear thee can afford / No better term than this: thou art a villain” (3.1.59-60). Tybalt then draws his sword, along with Mercutio, and a quarrel breaks out, between Mercutio and Tybalt. Amidst all of this, Romeo, trying to stop the fight, gets in between the two duelists, and Mercutio is stabbed, as Tybalt’s sword somehow goes under Romeo’s arm and into Mercutio’s chest. Tybalt flies from the scene as Mercutio is dying. Following the death of Mercutio, Romeo and Tybalt meet again, this time Romeo searches for Tybalt, searching for revenge. During this scene, Tybalt is killed by Romeo and for that crime Romeo is exiled. Consequently, Tybalt’s desire for vindictiveness and malice makes the story a tragedy, because up until that point the marriage between Romeo and Juliet could have been settled among the families. Nevertheless, to shape the full-length tragedy, Tybalt’s death intensifies the feud.
All people share a sense for revenge and desire, but few experience it on such grand scale that they will act it out. Tybalt’s fury is so great that the existing feud between the Capulets and Montagues is his opportunity to let out.