Compare and contrast Benvolio with Tybalt.  What are the differences and similarities among these two characters?  I would appreciate it if you could give details and quotes. I don't need it in...

Compare and contrast Benvolio with Tybalt. 

What are the differences and similarities among these two characters? 

I would appreciate it if you could give details and quotes. I don't need it in an essay format. 

Thank you.

Expert Answers
lordcou eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While their differences seem more obvious, the characters of Benvolio and Tybalt do share some similarities.

As others have mentioned, both Benvolio and Tybalt are cousins to the main characters of the play. As a Montague, Benvolio is Romeo’s cousin, and as a Capulet, Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin. This is an important similarity to consider when looking at their other similarities and differences.

As a Montague and a Capulet, both Benvolio and Tybalt, respectively, tend to be loyal to their family and friends. As I’ll discuss later, even though Benvolio usually tries to keep the peace, he will fight to protect his family’s honor. For example, in Act I, Scene I, Benvolio tries to break up the fighting, but he ends up joining in anyway because Tybalt provokes him. Tybalt says (Act I, Scene I):

What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?

Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon they death.

This happens again to Benvolio in Act III, Scene I. While he wasn’t as involved in this deadly fight, he shows his loyalty to the Montagues by being with Mercutio when he dies (one of Romeo’s best friends) and telling Romeo that he needs to go before the Prince finds out that he killed Tybalt.

This willingness to step up and keep the peace or draw his sword demonstrates Benvolio’s loyalty to his family.

Tybalt, too, is loyal to his family, but he demonstrates it through drawing his sword, which will be discussed further.

When I think of the name Benvolio, the word “benevolent” always comes to mind; if someone is described as benevolent, it means that they are well meaning and kind.

We see examples of Benvolio’s benevolent disposition throughout the play. For example, upon discovering the fight in Act I, Scene I, Benvolio pleads the families to stop (Act I, Scene I):

Part, fools!

Put up your swords; you know not what you do.

Just before the deadly fight breaks out, Benvolio attempts to convince Mercutio and Tybalt to take it elsewhere (Act III, Scene I):

We talk here in the public haunt of men:

Either withdraw unto some private place,

And reason coldly of your grievances,

Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.

From his benevolent attitude, Benvolio gains a reputation of being trustworthy. In fact, the Montagues seek his side of the story to the fight in Act I, Scene I as well as help with dealing with Romeo’s melodramatic mood. Not only do family members trust Benvolio, but so does the Prince. The Prince trusts Benvolio enough to ask him for clarity regarding the deadly fight in Act III, Scene I. The Prince asks (Act III, Scene I):

Benvolio, who began this bloody fray?

His response shows the true valor of his character. While Romeo is his dear cousin, he still tells the truth.

On the other hand, when I think of the name Tybalt, the word “ill-tempered” always comes to mind; this is someone who is extremely irritable and tends to act upon their emotions.

In the same scene where Benvolio attempted to break up the fight, Tybalt responded, ready to fight (Act I, Scene I):

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word,

As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:

Have at thee, coward!

His lack of being able to control his temper is again revealed at the Capulet party where Lord Capulet must scold him to prevent him from fighting Romeo. Lord Capulet even recognizes that Tybalt is “saucy” (Act I, Scene V).

Even though he promised not to start a fight at the party, his temper got the best of him in Act III, Scene I, in which he acted hastily and fought Mercutio as well as Romeo. His hasty actions lead to his death, as Romeo killed him.

MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One obvious similarity is that both are cousins of the main characters: Tybalt is Juliet's, and Benvolio is Romeo's. In this way, they serve as close friends to both. Juliet is stricken at the news of Tybalt's death, and Romeo remains close to Benvolio throughout the play.

As far as differences, I agree with the above answer. Benvolio is traditionally seen as the peace-maker of the Montague family, while Tybalt is hot-headed and reckless. Benvolio continually seeks to end fights, such as in the first scene and Tybalt and Mercutio's fight in Act III, scene 1. Tybalt continually seeks to start fights, such as during the party scene. There, he is chastised by Lord Capulet, who essentially says his temper is getting the best of him. In Act III, scene 1, when Romeo refuses to fight him, Tybalt is more than happy to fight Mercutio, and presses to fight over perceived insults. He also prods even peaceful Benvolio into drawing his sword in the first scene.

seaofknowledge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Benvolio is Romeo's relative and friend. Tybalt is Juliet's cousin.

In temperament, these two characters are completely the opposite of one another. Benvolio is kind and calm whereas Tybalt is easily angered and aggressive.

Take these instances for example:

In Act 1, when Romeo makes an appearance at the party, Tybalt becomes so angry that he talks about killing Romeo. It's actually Juliet's father Lord Capulet who calms Tybalt down and speaks well of Romeo.

In Act 1 again, Benvolio and Tybalt have an encounter in which they make their personalities very clear to the reader. Benvolio is trying to put an end to a fight and urges the fighters to put their swords down and maintain peace. Tybalt counters him and even says that he hates the word "peace."

jonathancain42 | Student

compare and contrast the characters and functions of Mercutio and Tybalt in the play

henrywood1 | Student

MY answer is, Benvolio is more peaceful

Tybalt is furious.

The similar thing is they both serve their families, protect each other in some ways, Tybalt fights while Benvolio keeps peace.