What is the meaning of the phrase "Could you not take some occasion without giving?"This is found in act 3 scene 1

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mickey2bailey eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this scene, Tybalt insults Romeo and Romeo ignores him because he is so happy, since he just came from his wedding. Tybalt then says he would like a word with one of them, Mercutio and/or Benevolio.  Mercutio dares Tybalt to add a blow to whatever he has to say and Tybalt says if he gives him reason to he will.  That is when Mercutio says, "Could you not take some occasion without giving?"  I think Mercutio says do you always have to raise your sword instead of just talking.  Why does there always have to be a duel?  Why can't it just be "friendly" talk? Tybalt continues to incite and insult Mercutio and the duel ensues leaving Mercutio dead and Romeo defending his honor.

wptrelease | Student

It means "can't you start the 'action' without having someone else pushing you into it?" In other words, "do you always need to be prompted into action?", which is, in fact, a reaction.