Why doesn't old Capulet allow Tybalt to confront Romeo at the masque?

enotes | Student

Romeo attends the night-time ball hosted by the Capulets and is recognized by the "fiery" Tybalt who tells Old Capulet that he shall not endure the presence of a hated Montague in their midst. The head of the Capulet family counters that Romeo shall be endured, refers disparagingly to Tybalt as "goodman boy," and then declares to Tybalt "You'll make a mutiny among my guests!/You'll set cock-a-hoop! You'll be the man" (I, v., ll.80-81). We note that Old Capulet could have allowed Tybalt to take Romeo and his hatred for him outside, but forcefully opposes Tybalt's wrath. This seems odd since Capulet has shown his own willingness (but not his ability) to duel with the Montagues despite the Prince's injunctions. Here, as in his initial conversation with Paris, Old Capulet acts in an authoritarian and arbitrary manner. He seems to be more interested in asserting his status as the head of the household than in preserving decorum or custom. Rather than showing Old Capulet to be a reasonable man, the incident reveals him to be pre-occupied with remaining in charge.

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Romeo and Juliet

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