Responsible for the Deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt

Several people in the tragedy are guilty of Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths, including Romeo and these two men themselves. Tybalt is the first to blame since he was an instigator of the fight. If he had correctly understood the reason for Romeo’s presence at the party, he would not have felt aggression towards him (SparkNotes Editors, 2003). Tybalt neither controlled his temper nor anticipated the outcomes for both Mercutio and himself. As a result, he paid with his life for his fiery and uncontrollable character. Mercutio is also to blame because his decision to fight was sudden and impulsive. He did not have any reason to stay on the street, especially when Benvolio warned him that if they were confronted with the Capulets, they would not escape the fight (Grocker2011, 2012a). Despite these warnings, Mercutio stayed outside hoping to start a duel. He was also abused by Tybalt’s behavior and insisted on the battle even when Romeo refused, trying to peacefully solve the conflict (Grocker2011, 2012a). Both men were impetuous and hot-tempered, and these traits became the main reason for the fight between them and their deaths.

Romeo can be considered accidentally guilty, because he rejected the duel with Tybalt, thus putting Mercutio’s life at stake. It all started when he visited the Capulet party uninvited and was noticed by Tybalt, who became so angry that he challenged Romeo to a battle (Shakespeare, 1597). Mercutio told that if his friend refused to fight, he would take his place. When the duel between Tybalt and Mercutio started, Romeo did not do his best to prevent the death, and Tybalt fatally injured Mercutio. Romeo tried to interfere, but unintentionally gave Tybalt the advantage over Mercutio (SparkNotes Editors, 2003). At first, he wanted to solve the conflict in a peaceful way, but after Mercutio was stabbed, Romeo showed his impulsive and emotional character. He understood that his love for Juliet made him weak, and decided to change it by killing Tybalt as a sign of revenge (Grocker2011, 2012b). Only after it was too late, he realized how foolish he was by not controlling his temper. Therefore, Romeo was the catalyst for the tragic deaths of the two young men even if he first showed his peaceful and kind nature.

Looking from a different perspective, one can see that these three men are not to blame since they were just the victims of the circumstances. If someone or something was responsible for the deaths, that was the feud between the Capulets and Montagues. If not for the lifetime conflict between the two families, Tybalt would have no reason to feel hatred for Romeo (SparkNotes Editors, 2003). Tybalt interpreted Romeo’s presence at the Capulet party as an offense and thought that he arrived to make fun of their ball (Shakespeare, 1597). The family feud was the incentive that made him feel abused. Though indirectly, the constant war between these two aristocratic families doomed the young men to death. The origin of their hostility is unknown, but it is the main impetus of all tragic events in Romeo and Juliet. Since the Montague-Capulet conflict plays a key role in the play, it can be said that not the individual characters but both families were indirectly responsible for the fight between Tybalt and Mercutio and their deaths.


Grocker2011 (2012a). Act 3 Scene 1: Mercutio and Tybalt fight. Web.

Grocker2011 (2012b). Act 3 Scene 1: Romeo and Tybalt fight after Mercutio’s death. Web.

Shakespeare, W. (1597). Romeo and Juliet [audiobook]. Lit2Go ETC. Web.

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). No Fear Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. Act 3 Scene 1 [online]. Web.

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