Romeo and Juliet


12/13/2004


How are lives affected by other people? In the play, Romeo and Juliet, many


characters interfere in the conflicting lives of Romeo and Juliet’s families. Their


interference can be seen as proactive, reactive or inactive in their attempt to end the


ongoing quarrel between the house of Montague and the house of Capulet. One can see


evidence of reactive characters in the way Tybalt, the nurse, and Romeo involve


themselves in the feud. In contrast, Friar John, Benvolio, and Capulet can be seen as


completely inactive. Some of the characters from Romeo and Juliet had good intentions


with their interference such as Capulet and the Prince. Though all these characters


interfered in different ways, together they changed what Romeo and Juliet could have


been.


Throughout the story, characters did not willingly hurt Romeo and Juliet. They


tried to look for ways to help the situation. Capulet knew a Montague was at his party,


yet he did not yield to the conflict and allow a fight. “I would not for the whole wealth of


this town here in my house do him disparagement” (Act I, Scene V). He did not allow an


enemy to ruin his night. The Prince characteristically broke up the fights between the


families. “I have interest in your hate’s proceeding” (Act III, Scene I). He did all he


could to stop the continuos fighting. “On pain of torture, from those bloody hands, throw


your mistemper’d weapons to the ground”(Act I, Scene I). He found that people seem to


need to learn the hard way.


Many of the reactive characters had ideas to improve the conflict. Yet theyreacted


so hasty and rash, they did not know anything except their immediate feelings. Romeo


well characterizes this nature when he finds out about Juliet’s death. “Is it e’en so? then I


defy you stars! Thou know’st my lodging: get me ink and paper, and hire post-horses: I


will hence tonight” (Act V, Scene 1). Tybalt shares this quick judgment when he sees


Romeo at a Capulet party. “It fits, when such a villain is a guest: I’ll not endure him” (Act


I, Scene V). The nurse also shows rashness when she tells Juliet to get married with out


her parents approval. “Then hie you hence to Friar Lawrence cell; there stays a husband


to make you a wife” (Act II, Scene V). One can see that the effects of their rash and


unplanned actions finally lead to a bad outcome.


Exactly opposite to these reactive characters are the inactive characters in Romeo


and Juliet. These characters saw the situation and tried to avoid it. No situation arises


from which one can see extreme emotion from these characters. Benvolio is a satisfactory


example of this sort of character. “I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire: the day is hot,


the Capulets abroad, and if we meet, we shall not ‘scrape a bowl” (Act III, Scene I).


Capulet also revealed an inactive side at his party. “Content thee, gentle coz, let him


alone” (Act I, Scene V). Friar John completes this inactive characterization. Prolongs his


responsibilities to the point that he did not get things done. “I could not send it, --here it


is again,-- Nor get a messenger to bring it thee, so fearfully were they of infection” (Act


V, Scene II). These inactive characters interfered by what they did not do. This certainly


reaped a mixed result of good and bad.


Throughout the conflict between the house of Montague and the house of Capulet


one can see how the characters interference brought about the end result. some tried to


do good, some did not do much, and several tried to fix it all at once. These proactive,


inactive, and reactive characters have a definite influence on this tragedy.