Q:

What are Tybalt's personality traits?

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Quick Answer

Tybalt, a character in William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," has a very self-important attitude and acts full of himself. He is also impetuous, condescending and easily provoked. According to Shakespeare Navigator, Tybalt despises Montagues, since he is part of the Capulets' extended family.

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Full Answer

The first time Tybalt is introduced in the play, he comes upon servants from the houses of Capulet and Montague fighting and Benvolio trying to stop the brawl. Always quick to believe the worst about a Montague or anyone who associates with that family, he starts accusing Benvolio of drawing his sword among "heartless hinds," thus offending the servants even as he defends them. When Benvolio explains that he is only trying to keep the peace, the hot-headed Tybalt replies, "What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, / As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee, / Have at thee, coward!" He is enraged and looking for a fight, and then attacks Benvolio.

When Tybalt recognizes Romeo's voice at the Capulet masquerade ball, he is incensed and again ready for a fight. He tells his servant to fetch his rapier because "to strike him dead, I hold it not a sin." He does not appreciate the calming advice of his uncle, Lord Capulet, and he declares his intention to get even with Romeo for disgracing his family. Tybalt sends Romeo a letter challenging him to a duel.

Mercutio makes fun of Tybalt's fencing ability, claiming it is all bark and little bite. When Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt, Mercutio steps up and Tybalt kills him. Romeo feels it necessary to defend Mercutio's honor and kills Tybalt. Even as Tybalt is dying, his arrogance is evident when he refers to Romeo derogatorily as a "boy."

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