Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are the similarities and differences between Mercutio and Tybalt?    

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In the play Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt and Mercutio stand out for their similarities as well as their differences.The most notable similarity is that they are both fiery-tempered and very quick to act. Tybalt is like a powder keg of hatred towards Romeo and all the Montagues, while Mercutio's temper is mercurial, volatile, excitable and temperamental. Tybalt is a defender of his family's honor and is quick to draw his sword at any slight provocation, while Mercutio wishes only to defend his friend Romeo and uses his wit to taunt Tybalt into a fight. Tybalt is all rage and impulse, whereas Mercutio likes to joke, talks incessantly and is very cynical about both love and hate, the two forces that motivate the main characters in the play. Tybalt is a man of few words but lots of action, while Mercutio loves to spin his tongue as evidenced in his Queen Mab speech in Act 1, scene 4 and his playful teasing of Juliet's nurse in Act 2, scene 4.

In Act 3, these two instigate the violence which leads to Romeo's revenge and exile. As Mercutio lies dying, he curses both their houses, which foreshadows the tragic ending for Romeo and Juliet, while Tybalt dies without saying a word.

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