Why Did Romeo Kill Tybalt

Why did Romeo kill Tybalt in Act 3? Is it because of Romeo's character?

How does Tybalt's death change the action of the play.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in short, Romeo kills Tybalt because Tybalt kills Mercutio.  Of course, it isn't really that simple.

Romeo, newly in love with Juliet--a member of the hated enemy, the family that Romeo's family constantly feuds with--wants now to make peace.  While doing so, he gets in the way of Mercutio and Tybalt while they are fighting.  The two are partly serious and partly playing around, but the game is dangerous, since the game is sword fighting. 

In getting between the two fighters, Romeo inadvertantly causes Mercutio not to be able to react to a thrust by Tybalt, and the thrust mortally wounds Mercutio. 

Romeo becomes angry and loses control and kills Tybalt out of revenge.  At the same time, Romeo is probably lashing out at Tybalt due to his own guilt for having contributed to Mercutio's death. 

copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge the death of Mercutio at the hand of Tybalt. Despite the fact that Romeo is complicit in Mercutio's death, he blames Tybalt solely. Romeo, as true to his character, acts impulsively and without reflection in his murder of Tybalt. It is only after Tybalt's death that Romeo realizes the full extent of what he has just done when he states, "O I am fortune's fool!" Romeo realizes that his killing of his new wife's cousin sets into motion a fateful series of events that will likely keep Romeo and Juliet apart. This is how the plot of the play changes from this point forward; we know that Romeo and Juliet will never be able to be together.

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Romeo and Juliet

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