The fact that Prince Escalus has excused the families’ previous two feuds suggests that he, on some level, must understand what is at the root of this fighting. Since the audience never learns what started the feud to begin with, we must take our cues from the characters on stage. This act of looking the other way also suggests he is a tolerant ruler who had hoped the feud would resolve itself over time. Since this is not the case, Prince Escalus then turns into an angry ruler who demands that the fighting end. He hopes, in making his decree, that the threat of death will prevent further fighting. He, unfortunately, is wrong.