How does Tybalt's violent nature lead to his death in Romeo and Juliet?
In the play Romeo and Juliet, we meet Tybalt in Act 1, scene 1, just as Benvolio tries to make peace among the fighting servants of both noble houses. Tybalt arrives and taunts Benvolio for trying to break up the fight, while challenging him on the spot,
What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.
I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word,
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee:
Have at thee, coward!
Tybalt's fighting words, his hatred for the Montagues and his bullying character are evident in this exchange. Rather than help to stop the brawl, he forces poor, peace-loving Benvolio, a Montague, to fight him instead.
We see more evidence of Tybalt's angry, violent nature in Act 1, scene 5, at the Capulet Ball, when he hears the voice of a Montague among the guests and immediately asks for his sword
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.
The next time we meet Tybalt is in Act 3, scene 1. Still festering with rage over the party incident, he calls Romeo a villain and challenges him to a fight. Mercutio, Romeo's best friend, insults Tybalt and makes him so angry that they soon partake in a sword fight, in which Mercutio is slain. Seeing his friend die by the hand of Tybalt, Romeo, who up until now has always been a lover rather than a fighter, picks up a sword and fights with Tybalt. Romeo's fresh adrenaline and Tybalt's exhausted body influence the outcome of their fight and soon Tybalt lies dead.
The hostile, impulsive and violent nature of Tybalt contributed to his death. He was very hot-tempered, confrontational, would not be placated and regarded the sword as the answer to every quarrel.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial