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Thinking Is Not Tybalt's Strong Suit
To many adults, the undeveloped mind of a teenager may seem like it can only do small and insignificant damage. The childish dreams may seem silly. Though it’s easy to blame the mood swings of a teen on their social life, their young minds are the true cause of it. In Erika Packard’s article titled “That Teenage Feeling,” she provides an explanation for the poor choices teenagers make. “A teenager drives too fast around a curve and plants his car into a tree,” she writes.“Though he saw posted speed limits, heard parental admonitions, and suffered through hours of driver’s ed training, in that moment behind the wheel, he acted seemingly without thinking.” Many teenagers, in fact, do act as if they know the ways of the world, due to their undeveloped brains. The story of Romeo and Juliet, by esteemed author William Shakespeare, demonstrates the ways teenagers rush into things. Besides Romeo and Juliet themselves, many other characters influence the demise of the two lovesick teenagers by refusing to act with wisdom, and instead they just scrapped an idea together. While Shakespeare’s characters of the Nurse, Benvolio, and Prince Escalus help to seal the fates of Romeo and Juliet, the character of Tybalt contributes the most.
Juliet’s Nurse, although being a tiny bit “lame”, as Juliet would say, is one of her most faithful companions. Since the Nurse is trusted by Juliet, Juliet gives the challenging task of being messenger between Romeo and Juliet. By being the sole source for communication between the Montague son and the Capulet daughter, the Nurse ties the plot together by putting the pieces of the puzzle together. When the Nurse first goes to talk with Romeo, he tells her what to say to Juliet. “Bid her devise/ Some means to come to shrift this afternoon;/ And there she shall at Friar Lawrence’ cell/ Be shriv’d and married” (II, iv, 158-161). Romeo instructs the Nurse to tell Juliet to be at the Friar’s later that day, and then they could be married. Although the Nurse reports this back to Juliet correctly, and continues to affect the storyline in minor ways, (such as encouraging Juliet to marry Paris), the Nurse still wasn’t the one who set the scene for Romeo and Juliet’s fate.
Benvolio, the cousin of Romeo, played his part much more subtly than the Nurse, working more behind the scenes than up front. At the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo is hung up on Rosaline, Benvolio vows to get him over her. “I’ll pay that doctrine or else die in debt” (I, i, 237.) Since Benvolio is such a loyal friend, he is the one who drags Romeo the the party the Capulet’s threw. It is at that party where Romeo first sees and falls in love with Juliet. Since Benvolio is the one who initially has the idea to go to the revel thrown by the Capulets, he is the sole person who brings Romeo and Juliet together for the very first time. Though he affects the story by planting the seed that grows into the chain of events known as the demise of Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio hardly appears in the later acts, and he didn’t even specifically introduce the two. His bringing Romeo there was more an act of coincidence or fate.
As the self-appointed peacemaker who, although being a prince, doesn’t really care about anyone else’s opinions and does what he feels is best, Prince Escalus keeps the story drifting along helplessly into a void of trouble that just keeps getting deeper and deeper. After Romeo killed Tybalt, the Prince was the one who banished Romeo to Mantua for being a murderer. He also demands this information from Friar Lawrence, which gives Escalus a sense of power, showing that he has the right to throw Romeo out. “And for that offence/ Immediately we do exile him hence” (III, i, 187-188). While Prince Escalus assumes it’s for the best, his banishing Romeo makes heads roll, due to the fact that Romeo and Juliet are actually married. By banishing Romeo, he causes Friar Lawrence to give Juliet the small vial of poison which ends up getting Romeo killed. Even though Prince Escalus affects the story and its’ roots deeply, he still wasn’t quite the person who carved Romeo and Juliet’s fate into stone.
Tybalt, the impulsive, conceited cousin of Juliet, wreaked the most havoc throughout the story. His fierce personality and strive to be the protector of the Capulet house is what sets the entire city of Verona off balance and into a temporary age of calamity. When Tybalt first loses his temper at Romeo, Lord Capulet attempts to calm him down, but it is quite clear that he and Romeo don’t get along. Later in the play, Romeo and Tybalt get into a heater argument, resulting in the slaughter of Tybalt himself. Although Romeo initially wanted to make peace with Tybalt, Tybalt obviously wasn’t interested in making new friends. Tybalt’s reckless behavior, which led him to kill Mercutio, was the point of no return for Romeo and Juliet’s bitter tale. When Tybalt stabbed Mercutio, Romeo’s impulses kicked in, causing him to slay Tybalt. If Tybalt hadn’t started being rude and obnoxious to Romeo in the first place, the entire fight would have never happened, and Prince Escalus wouldn’t have been forced to banish Romeo to Mantua. As the Friar tells the Prince:
I married them, and their stol’n marriage-day
Was Tybalt’s dooms-day, whose untimely death
Banish’d the new-made bridegroom from this city,
For whom, and not for Tybalt, Juliet pin’d (V, III, 239-242).
All because Tybalt had to be stubborn, he got Mercutio killed, himself killed, and even eventually got Romeo killed. Tybalt pushes his limits, causing the story to unfold as we know it.
Though the characters of Nurse, Benvolio, and Prince Escalus affected the plot in their own ways, Tybalt was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The famous tragedy of Romeo and Juliet only happened because of the supporting characters and their decisions. Romeo and Juliet’s final stand was caused by the Nurse’s trust, Benvolio’s choices, Prince Escalus’ demands, and Tybalt’s impulsiveness. Tybalt’s impulsiveness was caused by his lack of brain development, because he was still young. Since his mind hadn’t fully progressed, Tybalt rushed into things and played his cards unwisely, while thinking solely about what was going on in that specific moment and not how it would affect anyone later. Tybalt’s reckless behavior caused the entire story to unravel, resulting in the demise of Romeo and Juliet.