What are Romeo's character traits in Romeo and Juliet?

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In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is lovesick, loyal to his friends, vengeful, impulsive, immature, and clever.

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I would like to say that Romeo is a lover and not a fighter, but that just is not the case.  There are times when he tries to avoid fighting, but by the end of the play he has killed both Tybalt and Paris.  

Rome is definitely a lover though.  At the start of the play, audiences get to hear Romeo whine about how he is lovesick over Rosaline and the fact that she does not reciprocate his feelings.  

"Well, in that hit you miss. She'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow. She hath Dian's wit,
And, in strong proof of chastity well armed,
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharmed.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold."

By the time that Romeo shows up at the Capulet party, it could be argued that Romeo is more in love with the idea of love and being in love than he is actually in love with a female.  That is probably why he so quickly discards his thoughts of Rosaline for Juliet.  Friar Laurence even points this out to Romeo in act 2. 

"Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? Young men's love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes."

While Romeo might be a lovesick fool to some people, he is also a brave and loyal friend.  I feel that becomes quite clear when he turns to fight Tybalt after Tybalt kills Mercutio.  Tybalt is no slouch with a sword.  It is well known that he is a very good fighter.  Despite knowing that, Romeo challenges Tybalt.  

Alive in triumph, and Mercutio slain!
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now.— 
Now, Tybalt, take the 'villain' back again
That late thou gavest me, for Mercutio's soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.

Of course being loyal and brave does not necessarily make Romeo smart or patient either.  He is impetuous and emotional.  He does not think his actions through, nor does he give events time to unfold before acting.  His actions are guided entirely by his emotions.  He moves on from Rosaline to Juliet in the blink of an eye.  He is married to Juliet roughly 24 hours after meeting her.  He does not consult with the friar about his plans.  Instead, he goes to the apothecary.  He impulsively seeks vengeance against Tybalt without thinking about any of the consequences.  

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The first character trait of Romeo, which perhaps stands out more than the rest, is that he is fickle and impulsive. Romeo claims to be in love with Rosaline but immediately upon meeting Juliet changes his mind and decides that he loves Juliet. He decides to marry her, in spite of the hostility between their families, almost immediately. This shows him to be impulsive and imprudent. Had he lived longer, the odds are he would have fallen in love with the next pretty face he saw. The swiftness with which he shifts his affections from Rosaline to Juliet is seen in act 1, scene 5, when on first seeing Juliet across the room, he says:

Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!

For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

Next, Romeo is ruled by his emotions rather than his intellect. He is impatient and rather than taking time to think things through, acts on impulse, often harming himself and those around him. Additionally, he attacks with limited provocation and threatens to commit suicide (and eventually does) when encountering obstacles. In many ways he is very immature for his age. His threats toward Balthasar are an example of his wild and impulsive nature:

But if thou, jealous, dost return to pry

In what I further shall intend to do,

By heaven, I will tear thee joint by joint

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1. Romeo is more interested in love than he is in violence and the age-old feud between his family, the Montagues, and the family of his enemy, the Capulets. He states in Act 1.1, lines 185-189, "O me! What fray (fight) was here? - Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here's much to do with hate, but more with love." Romeo goes on to talk about what is on his mind and what interests him most, the love he has for a woman who cannot be his (Rosaline).

2. Romeo is intelligent, clever, and quick witted in conversation. This can be seen in Act 1.4 in the witty banter between him and his good friend, Mercutio. Furthermore, in Act 1.5 during Romeo's first encounter with Juliet, he gives a clever comparison of his lips to pilgrims (palmers) who have traveled to visit a holy shrine, Juliet (lines 103-105).

3. Romeo is brave and unafraid of danger. He risks death to sneak into the Capulet garden to catch a glimpse of Juliet after the Capulet party. (Act 2.2)

4. Romeo is impulsive, loyal, and quick to anger. He is impulsive in his marriage to Juliet only hours after they meet, in killing Tybalt after Mercutio is slain, in attempting to kill himself after killing Tybalt, and in killing Paris before he takes his own life at the end of the play. He is loyal to Mercutio by avenging his death, and he acts out in anger by killing Tybalt without thinking of the consequences.

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In Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet, Romeo goes on an emotional journey from a shallow, irresponsible, love-struck teenager to a more mature, deeply passionate, and compassionate young man.

Romeo is ordinarily level-headed, thoughtful, and relatively mature (for a teenager), as evidenced in his attempt to reason with Tybalt to avoid fighting him.

ROMEO: Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee
Doth much excuse the appertaining rage
To such a greeting. Villain am I none.
Therefore farewell. I see thou knowest me not.

TYBALT: Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries
That thou hast done me; therefore turn and draw.

ROMEO: I do protest I never injur'd thee,
But love thee better than thou canst devise
Till thou shalt know the reason of my love;
And so good Capulet, which name I tender
As dearly as mine own, be satisfied. [3.1.61–71]

To mediate between the two hotheads, Tybalt and Mercutio, Romeo says the following:

ROMEO: Gentle Mercutio, put thy rapier up.

MERCUTIO: Come, sir, your passado!

They fight.

ROMEO: . . . Gentlemen, for shame! forbear this outrage!
Tybalt, Mercutio, the Prince expressly hath
Forbid this bandying in Verona streets.
Hold, Tybalt! Good Mercutio! [3.1.82–88]

Romeo also takes responsibility for Mercutio's death after his ill-advised and ill-timed intervention in Mercutio's sword-fight with Tybalt.

ROMEO: This gentleman, the Prince's near ally,
My very friend, hath got this mortal hurt
In my behalf . . . [3.1.109–111]

Tomeo is deeply concerned about Juliet after his banishment, and when she learns that he killed Tybalt, he says,

ROMEO: Spakest thou of Juliet? How is it with her?
Doth not she think me an old murderer,
Now I have stain'd the childhood of our joy
With blood remov'd but little from her own?
Where is she? and how doth she? and what says
My conceal'd lady to our cancell'd love? [3.3.97–102]

Romeo is changeable, sometimes from moment to moment. At the start of the play, Romeo is lovesick for Rosaline.

ROMEO: The all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun. [1.2 96–97]

That is, right up until the moment he falls in love with Juliet at first sight:

ROMEO: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night. [1.5.46–55]

Interestingly, Romeo's language takes on greater maturity after he meets Juliet.

Talking about Rosaline, Romeo's language is far more artificial and superficial than when he talks about Juliet, from expressions of utter rejection and over-the-top despair at his unrequited love for Rosaline...

ROMEO: Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast . . .
Love is a smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs . . .
Being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex'd, a sea nourish'd with lovers’ tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz. . . .
She is too fair, too wise, wisely too fair,
To merit bliss by making me despair.
She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead that live to tell it now. [1.1 186-194, 223-226]

...To a more mature, more passionate—and more poetic—love for Juliet...

ROMEO: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she . . .
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return . . .
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night . . .
With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do, that dares love attempt. [2.2.2-6, 15–22, 70–72]

Romeo is impetuous. His impetuous and sometimes rash behavior is evident throughout the play, from the time he first trespasses on Capulet property to see Juliet to when he marries Juliet just one day after their first meeting. As he tells Friar Laurence,

ROMEO: Then plainly know my heart's dear love is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet;
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine,
And all combin'd, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage. When, and where, and how
We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow,
I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
That thou consent to marry us to-day. [2.3.58–65]

Later, Romeo pulls his dagger and contemplates suicide when the Nurse tells him that Juliet is distraught because he killed Tybalt.

ROMEO: As if that name,
Shot from the deadly level of a gun,
Did murder her; as that name's cursed hand
Murdered her kinsman. O, tell me, friar, tell me,
In what vile part of this anatomy
Doth my name lodge? Tell me, that I may sack
The hateful mansion.
Draws his dagger. [3.3.107–113]

He drinks a vial of poison when he mistakenly believes that Juliet is dead:

ROMEO: . . . Here's to my love! Drinks. O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die. [5.3.199–120]

Yet after fatally wounding Paris at Juliet's tomb, and even in the depths of his own grief in believing that Juliet is dead, Romeo compassionately fulfills Paris's dying wish.

PARIS: . . . If thou be merciful,
Open the tomb, lay me with Juliet.

ROMEO: In faith, I will. . . .
I'll bury thee in a triumphant grave. [5.3 72–83]

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