What is the function of Tybalt in the play?
Why is Tybalt so important to the play? What does he say, and what are his actions that lead to ultimate tragedy? How does his character help develop the themes in the story?
Tybal is the main catalyst of the play. "Catalyst" means "something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected" (dictionary.com). See, up until Act III, Romeo was a passive lover, not a fighter. He didn't want to participate in the family feud between the Montegues and the Capulets. Tybalt's character refuses to back down until Romeo fights; sadly, it took Mercutio's death to push Romeo over the edge and into the thick of the fighting. One might argue that Romeo is still responsible for his own actions and can't blame Tybalt for losing his self-control, entering the fight, and ultimately killing Tybalt. This is neither here nor there for the topic at hand because the question focuses on the purpose of Tybalt's character, which, in fact, is to be the catalyst that "forces" Romeo to act.