In act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, what does Tybalt send to Romeo's house?

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Other Educators have noted in answer to this question that in act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt sent a letter to the Montague household, which Mercutio believes challenges Romeo to a duel.

BENVOLIO. Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet, Hath sent...

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Other Educators have noted in answer to this question that in act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt sent a letter to the Montague household, which Mercutio believes challenges Romeo to a duel.

BENVOLIO. Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father's house.

MERCUTIO. A challenge, on my life. (2.4.6-8)

Such a letter was called a cartel, which was the formal, written means of initiating a duel in Europe during the Renaissance.

Dueling was common in Elizabethan England, but by the 1700s dueling was made illegal throughout most of Europe. No mention is made of whether or not dueling was against the law in Verona at the time Romeo and Juliet is set. Nevertheless, the Prince issued a very stern warning about fighting to the Capulets and Montagues.

PRINCE. ...If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace. (1.1.92-93)

Perhaps a private duel wasn't considered disturbing the peace if it didn't take place in public view, like the brawl between the Capulets and Montagues that opens the play and prompts the Prince's warning.

BENVOLIO. Romeo will answer it.

MERCUTIO. Any man that can write may answer a letter.

BENVOLIO. Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he dares,
being dared. (2.4.9-12)

Benvolio says nothing about the actual content of the cartel, but we can assume that it has something to do with Romeo and his friends appearing uninvited at the Capulet party, which Tybalt considered spiteful, shameful, and a serious challenge to the Capulet's honor.

In matters of honor such as this, the cartel explains the reasons why the challenge is being made. The cartel might also specify the conditions under which the dishonor might be forgiven, such as a private or public apology, or, lacking an apology, a duel.

Whether Tybalt offered Romeo any choice in resolving the matter isn't known, but Mercutio and Benvolio assume that a duel will likely ensue, and they have serious concerns for Romeo's ability to survive such a duel.

They shouldn't have worried about him. When Romeo learns that Mercutio has died from the wounds inflicted on him by Tybalt, Romeo engages Tybalt in a sword fight, and, despite Mercutio's description of Tybalt as a deadly swordsman, Romeo kills him.

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In act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio and Benvolio are discussing Romeo's whereabouts after he gave them the slip at the Capulet party. Benvolio mentions that Tybalt has sent a letter to Romeo's house. The letter is a challenge to duel. In Elizabethan times, dueling was fairly common among the nobility. Nobles had to protect their honor. Their honor was tied to their wealth, family name, and favor with the king or queen. They took any insult to their family's honor very seriously and defended it or risked being seen as a coward.

When Romeo and his friends show up uninvited at the Capulet party, Tybalt feels that the family's honor has been threatened. In act 1, scene 5, Tybalt exclaims:

"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."
On that night, Old Capulet holds him off, but Tybalt will not overlook the offense. He issues the challenge to Romeo in the form of a letter, and Benvolio and Mercutio discuss the danger Romeo is in now. Mercutio describes Tybalt as an expert swordsman, who knows all the moves and can orchestrate a fight like a song. Here is the speech Mercutio gives when Benvolio asks what's so fearsome about Tybalt:
"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 immortal passado, the punto reverso, the hai!"
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In act 2, scene 4, Benvolio and Mercutio enter the scene and discuss where Romeo was the previous night, because he did not come home. Benvolio then mentions to Mercutio that Tybalt sent Romeo a formal letter to his home challenging him to a duel. Benvolio says,

"Tybalt, the kinsman to old Capulet, Hath sent a letter to his father’s house" (Shakespeare, 2.4.6-7).

Tybalt has challenged Romeo to a duel for secretly crashing Lord Capulet's ball. During the ball, Lord Capulet prevented Tybalt from making a scene and fighting Romeo in public, which is why Tybalt wishes to avenge Romeo in a duel. When Benvolio informs Mercutio about Tybalt's letter, Mercutio expresses his concerns about Romeo's mental state. Mercutio wonders if Romeo is man enough to defeat Tybalt, who is a talented swordsman. Later on, Tybalt challenges Romeo, and Mercutio comes to his defense. During their struggle, Tybalt ends up killing Mercutio before Romeo ends up murdering Tybalt and is forced to flee Verona.

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A letter.  Tybalt sends a letter to Romeo's house.  Benvolio tells audiences that detail early on in Act 2, Scene 4.  The specific wording of the letter is not known, but the intent of the letter is known.  The letter that Tybalt sends is challenging Romeo to fight a duel against Tybalt.  Tybalt is still upset over the fact that Romeo crashed the Capulet party the night before.  Lord Capulet told Tybalt to not worry about it, because he heard that Romeo was a good kid.  He also doesn't want any fighting at his party.  

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-govern'd youth:
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement:

Tybalt obeys, but he vows to get revenge one way or another.  

I will withdraw: but this intrusion shall
Now seeming sweet convert to bitter gall.

Because of the letter, Benvolio and Mercutio are correctly worried about Romeo's safety.  Tybalt is an excellent swordsman with a hot temper.  He is not likely to forgive Romeo; therefore, Romeo is indeed in a lot of danger.  

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You can find the answer to this right at the very beginning of the scene.

Benvolio and Mercutio are together walking on a street.  Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt, who is a relative of Juliet, has sent a letter to Romeo's house.  In the letter, he is challenging Romeo to fight a duel with him.

Mercutio and Benvolio are worried about this because Tybalt is a very good fencer.  They are afraid he will kill Romeo.

When Romeo shows up in the scene, they stop talking about this and start teasing him about Rosaline.  They still have no idea what is going on with him and Juliet.

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