In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, we meet several young noblemen, each with very different and unique characteristics. For example, we could find one benevolent and calm character and at the same time find an opposing turbulent and malicious character. Therefore, by comparing the actions and characteristics of some of these characters, we can learn more about a specific character’s personality. Through their contrast to Romeo, the characters Benvolio, Mercutio, Paris and Tybalt serve to highlight his uniqueness.
First of all, Benvolio, Mercutio and Paris all have attitudes towards love which differ significantly to Romeo’s attitude.
Benvolio, in my opinion, doesn’t really believe in love and does not take it as seriously as Romeo does. This is revealed when Romeo tells Benvolio about his unrequited love towards Rosaline and all Benvolio does is urge him to find some other woman to love, “Find a new infection in your eye, and the poison of the old infection will die” and “Be ruled by me, forget to think of her”.
However, Romeo is emotional and in love with love since he refuses to forget about Rosaline as shown in the line, “Farewell, thou canst not teach me how to forget”. Moving on to Mercutio, he only thinks of women as sexual objects and makes fun of Romeo for being a lover, “You are a lover, borrow Cupid’s wings, and soar with them above a common bound”.
Some examples of Mercutio’s sexual puns which prove he thinks about sex more than love are, “If love be blind love cannot hit the mark”, “Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down” and “To raise a spirit in his mistress’ circle”.
In contrast, Romeo doesn’t think of sexual intercourse as much as Mercutio; his words make us detect that he is a true lover, “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” and “Did my heart love till now?”. Finally, Paris is a conventional suitor who follows the typical way of marriage during the Elizabethan times (he proposes to the parents before getting to know the girl) whereas Romeo talks to and loves the girl he gets married to. In addition, Paris doesn’t speak of the stars and love as Romeo does since he says lines like, “Happily met, my lady and my wife” and “I am sure, that you love me”.
Secondly, Mercutio is a realistic person who doesn’t base his future on dreams while Romeo is imaginative and believes in dreams. Mercutio dismisses dreams as idle fantasies and thinks they’re foolish, as revealed in the lines, “I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain…vain fantasy”. On the other hand, Romeo is a very imaginative and dreamy character who believes that dreams and premonitions become true most of the time, as shown in the line, “In bed asleep, while they do dream things true”. Furthermore, Romeo has a premonition that the Capulet party will be the beginning of a fatal chain of events for him, “I fear too early for my mind misgives some consequence…by some vile forfeit of untimely death”. Romeo strongly believes that this fearful premonition would actually determine his future, but he enters the party anyway since Mercutio persuades him that dreams are ridiculous.
Finally, Tybalt is totally opposing to Romeo since Tybalt is a vindictive character who detests peace while Romeo hates war. The first time we come across Tybalt in the play we have a feeling that he is a fiery, violent man when he firmly declares, “What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee”. However, the first time we hear Romeo talk about the feud between the Capulets and Montagues he just says, “O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all”. From his tone, we can sense that he is a peaceful character. Moreover, when Tybalt challenges Romeo to fight and insults him, as shown in the lines, “thou art a villain” and “therefore turn and draw” Romeo tries to placate him, “I do protest I never injured thee but love thee better than thou canst devise”, but Tybalt refuses to leave without fighting.
In conclusion, I think that if we compare the characters Benvolio, Mercutio, Paris or Tybalt to Romeo, Romeo would stand out the most since he is a very unique character with inimitable personality traits.
👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!
Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.get help with your assignment