Tybalt is very much key to the story of Romeo and Juliet, both from the perspective of its thematic content, as well as from the perspective of the plot.
Thematically, Romeo and Juliet is oriented around the interwoven threads of love and vendetta, with the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet ultimately resolving the longstanding conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets. Tybalt, more than any character in the play, seems to be a walking expression of that conflict. When Romeo sneaks into Capulet's party, he reacts in the following manner:
This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What! dares the slave
Come hither . . .
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin" (act 1, scene 5)
Indeed, Lord Capulet himself—the leader of this feuding family—is content to allow Romeo's presence at the party. In many respects, when we look at Tybalt's presence throughout the play (both within the party and later, in his fatal encounter with Mercutio and...
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