Do we learn more about Tybalt through other characters' remarks or through his actions and own words?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I was originally going to answer that the reader learns more about Tybalt from his own actions, because I was thinking about Act 1, Scene 5.  That's the scene where Tybalt wants to have Romeo thrown out of the party.  After looking at the text though, I believe that an audience learns more about Tybalt through the words and actions of other characters.  In Act 1, Scene 5, Capulet and Tybalt argue over what to do with Romeo, but when you actually look at the text, Tybalt says next to nothing.  Capulet does all of the talking.  


   He shall be endured.
What, goodman boy! I say, he shall. Go to.
Am I the master here, or you? Go to.
You’ll not endure him! God shall mend my soul,
You’ll make a mutiny among my guests.
You will set cock-a-hoop. You’ll be the man!
Why, uncle, ’tis a shame.
     Go to, go to.
You are a saucy boy. Is ’t so, indeed?
This trick may chance to scathe you, I know what.
You must contrary me. Marry, ’tis time.—
Well said, my hearts!—You are a princox, go.
Be quiet, or—More light, more light!—For shame!
I’ll make you quiet.—What, cheerly, my hearts!
Through Capulet, the audience learns that Tybalt has always been an aggressive hot head with problems of authority.  Tybalt confirms all of that when he vows revenge against Romeo.  
I will withdraw, but this intrusion shall
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.
Later in Act 2, Scene 4 the audience learns a lot about Tybalt from Mercutio.  We learn that Tybalt is an excellent fighter, quite smart, and well disciplined.  
More than Prince of Cats. Oh, he’s the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion. He rests his minim rests—one, two, and the third in your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortalpassado, the punto reverso, the hai!
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Romeo and Juliet

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