Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Romeo and Juliet, who are three characters whose personality traits complement or contrast each others' personalities? I need THREE characters whose personality traits are related/connected to each other. Their traits have to: complement another character's trait or contrast another character's trait. Example: Benvolio's peacefulness contrasts Tybalt's lust for violence. I need a third character who can be connected to Benvolio and Tybalt with either complementing or contrasting. Or, if you have 3 different characters who complement/contrast each others' personalities, thats fine also.

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coachingcorner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You could use three men of status to compare and contrast in the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. For example, the mayor or Prince, the Friar and Lord Capulet present intersting and conflicting personalities. Firstly Lord Capulet is impulsive and unbecomingly rash for one so distinguished in years and in local society (instead of cooling the fight to set a good example of citizenship he actually demands a weapon himself so he can brandish it.) Secondly, the Prince is the opposite but still not perfect. Although he is measured and wise and counsels restraint for fear of harm from the feuding, he is not as assertive as Capulet and "winks" at the trouble too often, not exercising his powers. Thirdly, the Friar, is well-meaning but a dreamer. His pride encourages him to believe he can use the couple to end the feud all by himself.

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Matt Copeland eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tybalt, Mercutio, and Benvoliorepresent three diverse points along a conitnuum. Tybalt is fiery and hot-blooded, with a short temper that is prone to violence and confrontation. We see this in the opening fight scene and just prior to the death of Mercutio. Benvolio, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of this spectrum (as is Romeo, who might also be inserted here). He resists violence and confrontation and seeks peace the vast majority of the time. In the opening fight scene he resists engaging Tybalt as long as he possibly can and finally does fight only to protect himself. In fact, Benvolio opens Act III by trying to avoid confrontation:

I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire:
The day is hot, the Capulets abroad,
And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl;
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

It is Mercutio, then, who represents a kind of middle ground between Tybalt and Benvolio. Mercutio fights when provoked and certainly doesn't shy away from engaging such situations, but it is not Mercutio who actually starts the fight. Mercutio seems to swing back and forth between the hot-headedness of Tybalt and Benvolio's desire for peace. In fact, Mercutio's name comes from the word "mercurial," meaning "characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood; a mercurial temper."


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missy575 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think you can offer Mercutio into that mix. He provokes Tybalt to fight him almost in Act III just before he dies. In that same scene, he is trying to set up Benvolio as a big fighter, which Benvolio is truly not as we can see from evidence in the story. Mercutio contrasts Benvolio in that he doesn't necessarily want peace if he is willing to provoke a fight, and therefore compares to Tybalt. But by the time the fight is over and Mercutio is dying, he gives the big "a plague on both your houses." Although vengeful, it somewhat agrees with Benvolio's regular quest for peace. Mercutio's regular talkative character compliments Benvolio's peacefulness because every time Benvolio gets to speak it is valued, it's not just someone full of himself speaking, it is a valuable message. These are just ideas. See if they can work for you.

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