The play begins in Italy with an ancient feud between two families. We know this because the prologue says, “From ancient grudge” The quarrelling is between the two families the Montagues and the Capulets. The prologue does not state what the argument is about but we do know it has also been going on for years.
I think that there are several causes of violence amongst the Montagues and the Capulates. One of the causes is Tybalt “Prince of cats”, the older generation are encouraging and fuelling the argument as well as financing the war. Maybe it is just the younger generation who are bored and immature with not a lot else to do expect fight each other as they were brought up to do so. Or does Mercutio share the blame along with Tybalt for being the main perpetrators of violence and encouraging others to do so? There could quite possibly be role models for the other Capulets and Montagues and a good source of inspiration.Order now
I’m now going to discuss Tybalt and Mercutio their excitability and their anger. Tybalt is aggressive and has a very short temper, and knows little of how to control it and is always spoiling for a fight. For example in the Capulet’s house party :
“Tybalt: This, by his voice, should be a Montague fetch me my rapier boy.” Act 1 scene 5
This is very often his way of anger thinking and he will do anything to have a fight with anyone. Another example of his anger and aggressiveness would be when he is talking to the Montagues in Act 1 Scene 1, when he says he hates peace which means he must want chaos.
“Tybalt: What drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word. And I hate hell, all Montague’s, and thee.” Act 1 Scene 1
He say this to the crowd of Montague’s. It sounds like he is very influenced by the older generation.
Mercutio is Tybalt’s equivalent in the clan . He does provoke him and he does know that Tybalt has a short fuse:
“Mercutio: I will not budge for no man’s pleasure, I.”
This is said in an aggressive way to try and provoke Tybalt. Mercutio also does really enjoy letting his mouth run away and says what is on his mind. His mouth is almost as an affective weapon as a sword, with short sharp insults “you rat catcher, will you walk?” so he challenges with an insult. I sometime get the feeling in various course of the play he is a bit bitter about love and we may be correct in speculating that he has had his heart broken by a girl in the past.
I think that the older generation are most to blame for what goes on. Because although they can not do any fighting themselves as they are reminded by their wives :
“Lady Capulet: A crutch, a crutch! Why call you for a sword.” Act 1 Scene 1
However the older generation influence the younger generation a lot. They have brought them up and taught them to hate the other family. As the story takes place around mainly young men they have not yet made up their own mind. It is like they are almost slaves to the older generation.
I think it is unfair to try and pass blame of violence onto young men in generally because not all young men are like this as is shown by Benvolio as he tried to break up the fight in Act1 Scene 1 “Part, foolâ€¦ ” and also in Act 3 scene 1:
“Benvolio: we talk here in the public haunt of men:
Either withdraw unto some private place,
Or reason coldly of your grievances,
Or else depart; here all eyes gaze on us.”
So this generally statement is not true for all young men as some are peacefully. However though some are not. This also proves he that he is not comfortable with violence and generally wants peace. The prince also puts a great deal of trust in him because he always seems to tell the truth:
“Benvolio: O noble prince, I can discover all
The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl
There lies the man, slain by young Romeo
That slew thy kingsman, brave Mercutio.” Act 3 scene 1
This is Benvolio either being honest or being a grass and trying to wriggle out of any punishment that may be brought on his fellow comrades. My opinion is that he is just being honest and trying to be peaceful and admitting to this tragedy of death.
Gregory and Sampson do like to causing trouble almost as if to impress the older generation or to impress Romeo and Mercutio. But amongst themselves it sounds like they have a lot of hate inside with no good reason, such as they like to discuss the raping of women:
“Sampson:â€¦â€¦.. I will take
The wall of any man or maid of the Montague’s” Act 1 Scene 1
In other words they want to rape the women against the wall or kill the men against the wall. This talk about sex fuels violence and makes them even more so that bit aggressive.
I think the older generation are most to blame for the violence because of their influence on the young men. The young men are a lot more easily influenced than young women and it is mainly then men that have the quarrel with each other.
Tybalt is also to blame for the violence in Verona as he provokes Romeo a lot of the time. However as Romeo is all romantic he has no real interest in fighting and does his best to shrug it off.