Romeo and Juliet


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


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.