How would you describe Benvolio's role in Act 3, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet?
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Benvolio is generally a stabilizing force. He tries to avoid fights. In this scene, he is not successful.
In Act 3, Scene 1, Benvolio wants to go inside because it is hot. He really wants to go inside to avoid any fights. Mercutio teases him, thinking that he really does want to start a fight.
An I were so apt to quarrel as thou art, any man
should buy the fee simple of my life for an hour and a
quarter. (Act 3, Scene 1, p. 61)
Mercutio thinks it’s fun to talk about fighting, and Benvolio enters the conversation in a witty and good natured way.
Benvolio tries to warn Mercutio that Tybalt, a Capulet, has come in. Mercutio says he doesn’t care, but there is soon an altercation. Benvolio tries to stop it.
We talk here in the public haunt of men.
Either withdraw unto some private place(50)
And reason coldly of your grievances,
Or else depart. Here all eyes gaze on us. (Act 3, Scene 1, p. 61)
It doesn’t work. Soon, Tybalt and Mercutio are fighting and Romeo tries to break up the fight. His intervention causes Tybalt to kill Mercutio, and Romeo kills Tybalt. This causes Romeo’s banishment.
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