When Benvolio tries to persuade Mercutio to retire to a less public (and therefore less dangerous) place, Mercutio replies:
Thou art like one of those fellows that when he enters the confines of a tavern claps me his sword upon the table and says 'God send me no need of thee!" and by the operation of the second cup draws it on the drawer, when indeed there is no need.
The irony is clear: Benvolio is the peacemaker of the group. Mercutio's description of a quarrelsome hothead, forever spoiling for a fight, perfectly fits Tybalt, and is not very far from his own impulsive character, but it is a ludicrous depiction of Benvolio. Mercutio cannot resist rendering his imaginative picture of Benvolio's martial disposition even more absurd by piling on more details. Benvolio, he asserts, will start a fight with a man over the number of hairs in his beard, or quarrel with another for cracking nuts "having no other reason but because thou hast hazel eyes." He will pick an argument with one who coughs in...
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