In Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," what is Benvolio's personality like?


Quick Answer

Benvolio's name is reflective of his personality, literally meaning "good will." Benvolio is constantly thrust into the role of peace keeper throughout Romeo and Juliet, though in the end he is unsuccessful.

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Full Answer

Benvolio is Lord Montague's nephew and Romeo's cousin. He seeks to comfort Romeo when he is depressed, along with their common friend, Mercutio. But unlike the pugnacious Mercutio, Benvolio is easy-going and benevolent, sometimes providing comic relief with his unique views on love and romance. Benvolio is also a pacifist, or at least he tries to be. He sees Sampson and Gregory fighting with Abraham and Balthasar, and tries to stop the fight, ending up getting dragged into defending himself against Tybalt. However, Benvolio later supports Romeo's notion of accepting Tybalt's request for a duel, so his pacifism is not always apparent. In fact, at one point Mercutio jokes that Benvolio is really the most quarrelsome person in Italy.

Above all, Benvolio is a confidant. He fills the role for Romeo, as well as Romeo's parents. When Lord and Lady Montague see that something is bothering their son, they send Benvolio to find out what is wrong. He tries to bridge the gap between everyone, which reflects his peacekeeper personality.

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