Romeo & Juliet Character Profiles

Romeo: The son of Montague, Romeo is first introduced to us as a sad, melancholic, apathetic youth. His reason for sadness is universal; Rosaline his love will not return his affections. Not initially daring, it is his friends Mercutio and Benvolio who suggest he gatecrash or arrive uninvited at the Capulet party to see Rosaline. There he meets Juliet falling instantly in love. From this point on, Romeo no longer is melancholic, but dynamic and courageous, risking his life at the Capulet’s house to be near Juliet and later breaking a banishment order which threatens death for him, to see his Juliet again.

Well regarded even by Capulet, his enemy, Romeo is a thoughtful man, unwilling to provoke fighting unlike the hot-blooded, adversarial Tybalt, whom he kills. Romeo also kills Paris but in both encounters sought to avoid fighting, winning only to defend his life. At the end of the play, he commits suicide, rather than live without Juliet, the ultimate display of loyalty for his love Juliet since his life obviously no longer had meaning without her… Mercutio: Kinsman to the Prince, Mercutio displays a fine if disrespectful tongue, especially towards Juliet’s nurse.

An unlikely source of wisdom, he tells a depressed Romeo to, “Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down” meaning Romeo should be rough with love if it is rough with him, and to regain his enthusiasm for love (Act I, Scene IV, Line 28) . Mercutio meets his death in Act III, Scene I when he rashly draws his sword on Tybalt who had been trying unsuccessfully to provoke Romeo into fighting. Famous for the words, “a scratch, a scratch; marry, ’tis enough” which describe his fatal wound by Tybalt, Mercutio’s death results in Tybalt’s death when Romeo avenges the death of his friend (Line 98).

It has been argued in some literary circles that Mercutio was “removed” as he was increasingly stealing the show from Romeo, the lead character (with Juliet) in this play… Benvolio: Nephew to Montague, and friend to Mercutio and Romeo, his role in the play is minor, serving mainly as a friend to Romeo. Tybalt: Nephew to Lady Capulet, this rash, hot-blooded young man is adversarial and hateful towards all Montagues, especially Romeo. When he sees Romeo at the Capulet party, his immediate instinct is to fight, but only the increasingly firm warnings from Capulet to hold his peace restrain him.

Tybalt is slain by Romeo in Act III, Scene I, after he had killed Romeo’s friend, Mercutio. Until this point, Tybalt had failed to provoke Romeo into fighting, but dies when he finally fights Romeo. Friar Laurence: A Franciscan priest, he plays a crucial role in the play by marrying Romeo and Juliet’s in his cell in the hope that the feud between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s will now end. A friend of Romeo, he initially does not take Romeo’s love for Juliet seriously, remembering Romeo’s obsession with Rosaline.

Later he unwittingly plays a part in the two lover’s deaths when he first puts Juliet to sleep with a deathlike potion which fools Romeo into thinking Juliet is dead leading to his suicide by self administered poison followed by Juliet’s death after her discovery that Romeo is dead. Friar Laurence’s letter to Romeo explaining that Juliet was not really dead never made it to Romeo. At the end of the play, despite his own admission of guilt for Romeo’s and Juliet’s death, Escalus, The Prince of Verona forgives him.

Juliet: A Capulet. She finds strength in her love for Romeo and hatches a plan with the Friar to help her escape her planned marriage to Paris for the arms of her husband, Romeo. When she awakens from her induced sleep, she finds Romeo dead in her family vault. She refuses to be parted from her lover and stabs herself with his dagger. Her death is the last installment in the tragic penalty paid for the inability of the Capulets and Montagues to live in peace.