Early in the play the character of Tybalt is established. He is portrayed as quick to anger and an instigator who is a very strong force behind the continuance of the feud between the Montagues and Capulets. In Act I, Scene 1 he professes this hatred when he confronts Benvolio:
What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward!
He appears again in Act I, Scene 5
when he happens to hear the voice of the masked Romeo
who is talking to himself about the beauty of the girl he sees across the room. Tybalt recognizes the voice and immediately calls for his sword:
This, by his voice, should be a Montague.—
Fetch me my rapier, boy.
What, dares the slave
Come hither covered with an antic face
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honor of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.
He fully intends to challenge Romeo right then and there, not concerning himself with possibly destroying his uncle's party. When Capulet spots his angry nephew he intercepts him and inquires about the reason for his outrage. Tybalt claims that the "villain" Romeo has come "in spite" to disrupt the proceedings. Attempting to avoid having his party spoiled, Capulet orders Tybalt to stand down and not worry about Romeo. He even suggests that Romeo is not so bad and should be allowed to stay:
Content thee, gentle coz. Let him alone.
He bears him like a portly gentleman,
And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-governed youth.
Although Tybalt's anger is temporarily checked, it will figure later in the play when he sends a letter challenging Romeo, eventually confronting Mercutio
and Romeo in the streets in Act III, Scene 1