A Comparison of Benvolio and Mercutio


It was a hot summer day in the town square of Verona when the two households came face to face, both feeling and showing their emnity. In the play of Romeo and Juliet, written by Shakespeare, Tybalt wishes to fight Romeo and since Romeo is refusing to battle him, Mercutio steps up and takes Romeo's place. Benvolio is, like always, begging and pleading for them to keep the peace. All through the tale, Romeo's best friends, Benvolio and Mercutio, try to help Romeo with their own particular methods. Surprisingly, there are no characters that differ from each other more than Benvolio and Mercutio. Although Benvolio and Mercutio are alike because they are both very loyal to Romeo, they are different because Benvolio is calm, level-headed, and honest and Mercutio tends to be a sarcastic, wild person who follows his emotions more than his common sense.

Mercutio and Benvolio express loyalty and companionship toward Romeo. Mercutio battles Tybalt in order to defend Romeo's honor, when Romeo has already made it clear that he doesn't want anyone to fight. Mercutio bravely faces the furious Tybalt and says "O calm, dishonorable, vile submission! Tybalt you rat-catcher will you walk?" (Scene Five). Benvolio also shows he is faithful to Romeo when he devises the brilliant plan of crashing the Capulet's ball, in an attempt to cure his friend Romeo's depression. When he says "... Supper is done, and we shall come too late." (Scene Two), he's convincing Romeo to go to the ball to have some fun or else it'll be too late and he'll stay heart broken.

Mercutio and Benvolio are different because Mercutio is a wild person that likes to pick fights even though they aren't "his" battles. When Tybalt is looking for Romeo, Mercutio steps up and declares "... Here is my fiddlestick; here's that shall make you dance." (Scene Five), thus making Tybalt even angrier and causing a fight. You can see Benvolio is a peace-keeping person especially when he states "I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword..." (Scene One). He says this mainly because he doesn't want anyone to get hurt or get in trouble with the law.

Although Mercutio and Benvolio are really close to being antithesis of one another, they are also similar because they are both incredibly loyal and faithful to Romeo. Though they are an oddly matched pair, they somehow combine to add their own unique flavors to Romeo and Juliet. Benvolio and Mercutio are two symbolic characters. Benvolio is supposed to represent the beatific person or the good path to take; on the other hand, Mercutio is the jokester or the unwise path to take. Benvolio tries to stop a fight when he says "... Put up your swords..." (Scene One) and Mercutio is encouraging a fight when he says, "Tybalt, will you walk?" (Scene Five). It is clearly seen that Mercutio and Benvolio are different in many ways, but it is their differences that symbolize that their will usually always be two paths you can take, a wise and an unwise. They also show that "the strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other" (Mario Puzo)

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