In Act lll of "Romeo and Juliet", what causes the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt
Do not forget the exposition of this play. In "Romeo and Juliet" the prologue first introduces the enmity between the Capulet and Montague families: "Two households...From ancient grudge break to new mutiny..." Sampson and Gregory of the House of Capulet encounter Abraham and another man of the House of Montague in Scene I of Act I. They quarrel, and Tybalt enters, but Benvolio, Romeo's friend, says,"I do but keep the peace. Put up thy sword." Nevertheless, tempers flare and the peace officers arrive. The Prince enters and forbids their feuding.
Later, Romeo sneaks into the party for Juliet and becomes enamored of her, but not before he is spotted by Montagues. This and the previous incident with the Capulets have fueled the already fiery-tempered Tybalt. When he encounters Mercutio and Benvolio in a public place in Act III, he baits Mercutio, "thou consort'st with Romeo." Mercutio (mercurial means hot-tempered) retorts by making puns on words that Typbalt uses, such as consort. Consequently, the hot-blooded Tybalt becomes even more angered.