What is the purpose of Benvolio's exchange with Montague in Act 1 Scene 1 lines 118-155? And what can be learnt about Romeo from this exchange?

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In Act I, scene i of Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio is explaining to Lord and Lady Montague why their son Romeo was not involved in the fighting. Benvolio shares that Romeo was seen going off on his own early that morning clearly upset about something. Lord Montague agrees with Benvolio that Romeo has been trouble lately. We learn that Romeo has been deeply trouble, but will not share his troubles with his friends. He prefers to walk alone and think rather than talk to his friends. Later, we will discover that the cause of Romeo's trouble is his unrequited love for Rosaline. During this scene, neither the Montagues nor Benvolio seem to know what is wrong with Romeo. The are concerned about his behavior and would like to help him. Of course, it will be Benvolio's attempt to help Romeo that will lead to the downfall of both Romeo and Juliet. His attempt to show Romeo other women and thus draw his out of his misery will lead to Romeo meeting Juliet.