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Romeo and Juliet character
Prince Albert, Prince Consort, consort of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-61) - Romeo and Tybalt - RCIN 403734 - Royal Collection.jpg
Romeo and Tybalt (painted by Albert, Prince Consort c. 1840–1845)
Created byWilliam Shakespeare
In-universe information
FamilyCapulets (cousin)

Tybalt (/ˈtɪbəlt/) is a character in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. He is the son of Lady Capulet's brother, Juliet's short-tempered first cousin, and Romeo's rival. Tybalt shares the same name as the character Tibert / Tybalt "the prince of cats" in the popular story Reynard the Fox, a point of mockery in the play. Mercutio repeatedly calls Tybalt "prince of cats" [a], in reference to his sleek, yet violent manner.

Luigi da Porto adapted the story as Giulietta e Romeo and included it in his Historia novellamente ritrovata di due Nobili Amanti (Newly found tale of two Noble lovers) published in 1530.[2](pp38–44) Da Porto drew on Pyramus and Thisbe, Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and a novella by Masuccio Salernitano. Da Porto gave it much of its modern form, including the lovers' names, the rival families of Montecchi and Capuleti, and their location in Verona.[3](p168) He also introduces characters corresponding to Shakespeare's Mercutio, Tybalt, and Paris. Da Porto presents his tale as historically true and claims it took place in the days of Bartolomeo II della Scala (a century earlier than Salernitano). Montague and Capulet were actual 13th century political factions, but the only known connection between them is a mention in Dante's Purgatorio as an example of civil dissension.[4](pp264–277)

Part in the play[edit]

In Act I, Scene I, Tybalt enters and helps his own servants, Sampson and Gregory, who are fighting in the streets with servants of the Montagues, Abraham and Balthasar. Seeing Benvolio (Romeo's friend) trying to stop the fight, Tybalt draws his sword to fight Benvolio, saying:

What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward!
—Act I, Scene I

Later, at the Capulets' ball, Tybalt is the first to recognize Romeo through his disguise, and would kill him if not forbidden by his uncle, Lord Capulet. His lust for revenge unsated, Tybalt sends a challenge letter to Romeo for a duel to the death. At the beginning of Act III, he enters looking for Romeo, only to create tensions with Mercutio, who was mocking Tybalt even before he walked into the scene. Tybalt initially ignores Mercutio and confronts Romeo, who refuses to fight because of his secret recent marriage to Juliet. Tybalt becomes even angrier; he does not know Romeo cannot fight him because they are now relatives.

Mercutio loses his temper and begins fighting Tybalt himself. Romeo tries to stop the combat by rushing between them, and Tybalt then stabs Mercutio under his arm. Mercutio dies from the wound, angering an already emotional Romeo. Enraged, Romeo duels and kills Tybalt in return, leading to his own exile by Prince Escalus.

Tybalt is revealed to be Juliet's maternal first cousin, when Lady Capulet arrives at the scene where Tybalt lies dead, and cries

"Tybalt, my cousin, O my brother's child!"
—Act III



Draper (1939)[7] points out the parallels between the Elizabethan belief in the four humours and the main characters of the play; Tybalt is choleric: Violent, vengeful, short-tempered, ambitious.[8] Interpreting the text in the light of humours reduces the amount of plot attributed to chance by modern audiences.[7](pp16–34)


  1. ^ Italian principe dei gatti (prince of cats) could perhaps refer not only to the Reynard character but to the Italian profanity cazzo[1],(p88) which could then form a minced oath on principe del cazzo, something like prince of "pricks" in English.


  1. ^ Erne, Lukas (2007). The first quarto of Romeo and Juliet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-82121-6.
  2. ^ Moore, Olin H. (January 1937). "Bandello and "Clizia"". Modern Language Notes. Johns Hopkins University Press. 52 (1): 38–44. doi:10.2307/2912314. ISSN 0149-6611. JSTOR 2912314.
  3. ^ Hosley, Richard (1965). Romeo and Juliet. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  4. ^ Moore, Olin H. (1930). "The Origins of the Legend of Romeo and Juliet in Italy". Speculum. Medieval Academy of America. 5 (3): 264–277. doi:10.2307/2848744. ISSN 0038-7134. JSTOR 2848744. S2CID 154947146.
  5. ^ "Romeo and Juliet (1934)". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Tybalt". Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  7. ^ a b Draper, John W. (1939). "Shakespeare's 'star-crossed lovers'". Review of English Studies. os–XV (57): 16–34. doi:10.1093/res/os-XV.57.16.
  8. ^ Kazlev, M. Alan. "The Four Humours". Kheper (blog).


External links[edit]