How does Shakespeare make Tybalt such a dramatic compelling character? Support your answer with close reference to the text.

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tybalt is a master at sword-play whose nickname is Rat-Catcher. This means that he is a skillful predator who seeks to fight at any chance he gets. If it weren't for Lord Capulet's insistence for Tybalt to stand down, there would have been a brawl  at the party. This shows that Tybalt is not only young, but easily entreated to anger and fighting. Add all of his talents to the fact that he is a devoted Capulet and the mixture creates a man who won't listen to reason or compassion when agitated. Some quotes that help to understand Tybalt's personality are listed below:

1. "This, by his voice, should be a Montague.

     Fetch me my rapier, boy. What dares the slave

     Come hither, cover'd with an antic face,

     To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?

     Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,

     To strike him dead I hold it not a sin" (I.v.54-59)

2. "It fits, when such a villain is a guest.

    I'll not endure him" (I.v.76-77).

3. "Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries

    That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw       (III.i.62-63).

Each one of these quotes shows Tybalt ready for a fight and angered at the slightest offense. It also shows his loyalty to the Capulet family as if he were an obedient servant or devoted follower in the mafia. Romeo is the complete opposite--a lover, not a fighter. Shakespeare pits these two against each other to create a perfect bully-meets-victim conflict that turns the victim conqueror over a hated foe.