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Benvolio, Romeo's friend in Shakespeare's poetic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, is a combination of two root words. One of these is bene which means good, and volio, which is derived from the Latin volo, meaning wish. Benvolio, in contrast to Malvolio of Twelfth Night, always has good intentions and tries to be a peacemaker. He attempts in the first scene to ameliorate the quarrel between the servants of the Capulets and the Montagues, telling the men to part and "put up your swords." A loyal friend to Romeo, he encourages Romeo gently to forget Rosaline and look at others. On a hot day in the street, Benvolio seeks to soothe the irrascible Mercutio's temper as he engages in heated arguments with Tybalt, but Benvolio cannot and Mercutio is wounded just after Romeo intervenes. When the Prince arrives, Benvolio has encouraged his friend to escape; then, when Romeo is banished, Benvolio speaks on behalf of Romeo, his friend, telling the Prince that Romeo meant no harm and acted properly. Certainly, Benvolio is of a good nature. as his well-wishes and good intentions indicate both his loyalty and his love.
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