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"But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun."The impulsive and hopelessly romantic son of Lord and Lady Montague.
- Badass: He manages to out perform Tybalt, who is noted for his skill by many, in a sword fight.
- Emotional Bruiser: Has a "weak" emotional personality, but wins all the fights he gets into, Paris being another example.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Paris' Betty.
- Break the Cutie: Romeo falls in love with Juliet, but due to the fact that he and Juliet come from feuding families, he has to hide his relationship and love for her. Because of this, he has to resort to having a Secret Relationship with Juliet. He then marries her in secret, only to have everything go wrong after that. Juliet fakes her death, Romeo thinks that she is dead, which leads Romeo to be Driven to Suicide all so that he could join Juliet in death.
- Character Development: Goes from a not particularly confrontational ineffectually weepy teenager to a colder, more serious form of desperation, most evident when he Paris not to try his luck with him.
- Chick Magnet: Though we only see him with Juliet and at the tail end of an ill-fated romance towards the beginning, Romeo is suggested to have courted several women since the play's beginning.
- Driven to Suicide: Romeo kills himself because he wanted to join Juliet in death (but tragically, he didn't know that Juliet was only Faking the Dead, because the information that Friar Lawrence had intended for him never arrived).
- Emo Teen: Locks himself up in his room with the curtains drawn, writes depressing poetry, and generally mopes about Rosaline… until he meets Juliet.
- Fatal Flaw: His impulsive behavior has him marry Juliet the day after meeting her and kill Tybalt for killing Mercutio. About an hour later.
- Fourth Date Marriage: With Juliet. Romeo is a hormonal teenager who is driven to both an elopement and suicide all because of their families' pointless feuding (Romeo's previous infatuation at the top of the play suggests that, if things had taken their natural course, his affair with Juliet would have burned out of its own accord).
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's shown hanging out with Benvolio and Mercutio constantly before things start to go south.
- Honour Before Reason: To catastrophic levels.
- Hot-Blooded: People tend to focus on this trait in Mercutio and Tybalt, but Romeo has a lot of it, too. He just tries to hold it in.
- Idiot Hero: Making good decisions isn't his forte. But Romeo did it all because he fell in love with a girl and wanted to do everything and anything he could to be with her, including having a Secret Relationship.
- Love Makes You Dumb: His main problem is his near perpetual state of being completely blinded by his love for a girl, and quietly brooding to himself when he isn't.
- In Love with Love: Romeo is strongly idealistic in regards to love and romance. He first loved and pined for a girl named Rosalie and then when he realized that their romance was not going to work, he gave up on love. But then he first laid eyes on Juliet and he instantly fell in love, completely forgetting about the fact that he was previously in love with Rosalie. He met Juliet just hours before he decides to marry her.
- It's All About Me: Regardless of the fact that Romeo loved Juliet more than life itself or more than anything, one cannot deny that his motivations for being in love with Juliet and being with Juliet by any means necessary was extremely selfish. It caused nothing but heartache and suffering, not only for Romeo, but for Juliet and everyone else.
- Love at First Sight: Towards Juliet. The first moment that Romeo lays his eyes on Juliet, he instantly falls in love. Some modern audiences may find it very odd how they fell in love because it happened so fast. (However, it's important to remember that this was not a Discredited Trope in Shakespeare's day.)
- Love Interest: Of Juliet. His relationship and love for Juliet is the epicentre of the entire story. It is also a love story of severe heartache, pain, suffering and tragedy.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: By their time's standards. Romeo is the one with emotional reactions, for better or worse.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After killing Tybalt.
- Nice Guy: Romeo is implied to be this, considering the fact that Lord Capulet doesn't actually care when he's told that Romeo is at his party and says he's heard nice things about the boy. Keep in mind, this is the guy that was trying to kill said boy's father less than 24 hours earlier for no other reason than some old rivalry that no one remembers the cause of.
- Secret Relationship: His relationship with Juliet. Due to being from opposing and fighting families, Romeo had to keep his relationship and love for Juliet a secret.
- Serial Romeo: His object of hopeless affection changes on a dime in the play, and it's implied he's done this sort of thing before. He knew Juliet for about a minute, and was already making out with her.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Juliet.
- Together in Death: With Juliet.
- Tragic Bromance: With Mercutio, but after avenging his death, he doesn't seem to care much anymore.
- Tragic Hero: His tragic flaw being his impulsiveness.
- Unstoppable Rage: Far from the most aggressive of the bunch, but killing his friends is a bad idea.
"That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."The very young only daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, who is being pressured into marriage by her parents.
- Break the Cutie: Three hours after Juliet marries Romeo, he kills her cousin (who was like a brother to her) and gets kicked out of Verona. The next day her parents try to force her to marry a man she doesn't love, and threaten to disown her if she refuses. Her father claims that he and her mother "have had a curse in having her". Meanwhile, she's loyal to Romeo, not only because of her inclinations, but because of her religious beliefs (i.e. "I'm already married, it would be wrong of me to get married again") and is fully prepared to kill herself rather than go through with the wedding. She ends up taking a potion that makes her appear dead, even though she's terrified of what it will do to her, as part of an incredibly risky plan to get out of Verona that entails never seeing the people she loves again. Then, when she wakes up in her family tomb, her husband is lying dead with his head on her chest. She runs herself through with his dagger. And she's fourteen years old.
- Character Development: Starts out as an obedient, innocent ingenue. By the fourth act, she's matured into a significantly more decisive and determined person.
- Child Marriage Veto: Juliet refuses to marry Paris the second time her parents bring it up, though not the first time. She married Romeo in between, but her parents don't know that...
- The Determinator: Juliet might seem sweet and innocent, but try and force her to marry someone she doesn't love, and she'll go through hell rather than do it.
- Damsel in Distress: For Romeo.
- Driven to Suicide: After the utter backfiring of her...
- Faux Death: Eventually, the reason why Romeo commits suicide, with Juliet following soon thereafter. Juliet took a special potion which Friar Lawrence had concocted. The potion would put Juliet in a deep sleep, which would make her seem like she was dead. After a few hours, she would wake from the deep sleep. Romeo unfortunately did not receive this information from Friar, therefore, he believed that Juliet was really dead.
- Fourth Date Marriage: With Romeo. Juliet is a hormonal teenager who was driven to elopement AND a Suicide Pact, all because of their families' pointless feuding (Romeo's previous infatuation at the top of the play suggests that, if things had taken their natural course, his affair with Juliet would have burned out of its own accord).
- The Ingenue: When first introduced, Juliet is very innocent, docile and childlike. She is also incredibly naive and idealistic.
- Love at First Sight: Towards Romeo. The first moment that Juliet lays eyes on Romeo, she instantly falls in love with him. To the point where she ends up engaging in a Secret Relationship with Romeo and even ends up marrying him only hours after they meet.
- Love Interest: Of Romeo and Paris.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Juliet is more practical and stages their doomed escape (which could have worked if John hadn't been delayed).
- Plucky Girl: Especially considering the time period it's set in. She disobeys her parents, follows her heart, and braves disownment and being trapped in a tomb to stay true to the man she loves.
- Proper Lady: She is both beautiful and shrewd.
- Replacement Goldfish: For the nurse's deceased daughter.
- Runaway Fiancée: The Faux Death set up by Juliet was an attempt to get out of marrying Paris.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: But it seems like she's more reserved than Romeo.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Romeo.
- Together in Death: With Romeo.
- Women Are Wiser: Juliet is way more practical and level-headed than Romeo. She's the one who proposes they get married, and worries about Romeo being caught by her kinsmen when he's climbed up to her balcony.
"What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?"Romeo's more levelheaded cousin.
- Bromantic Foil: To Mercutio more than Romeo.
- Brother Chuck: Disappears after Romeo's exile.
- Composite Character: In the 2013 adaptation, as well as the French musical, Benvolio takes over Balthazar's role of delivering the news of Juliet's death to Romeo.
- Deadpan Snarker: In the second act.
- The Everyman: He is always caught in the middle.
- Foil: To Mercutio, Tybalt, and Romeo, for various reasons.
- The Generic Guy: His voice of reason isn't as memorable as Mercutio's antics.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mercutio and Romeo.
- Informed Attribute: Mercutio describes Benvolio as Hot-Blooded, willing to start a fight for any reason at all. In practice, Benvolio is a level-headed Nice Guy, and Mercutio's description of Benvolio is more applicable to himself.
- Depending on how it's played, Mercutio may be teasing Benvolio when he says this.
- The Lancer: To Mercutio.
- Nephewism: He is Romeo's cousin and Lord Montegue addresses him as "Nephew." And that's all we know.
- Nice Guy: Ultimately, he is just trying to keep his friends alive.
- Only Sane Man: Everyone around him seems to forget the death threat on those who fight in the streets.
- Pair the Spares: Oddly, some productions — such as the 2013 film and the semi-sequel children's play "After Juliet" — will attempt to pair him off with Rosaline.
- The Reliable One: Established in the first scene as a peacekeeper.
- Straight Man: To Mercutio's Wise Guy.
- Tagalong Kid: In the 2013 film, he's considerably younger than the rest of the cast, to the point that Lord Montegue breaks up his fight with Tybalt by declaring, "Tybalt, you argue with a child. Turn and face your equal!" Ironically, this puts Benvolio at the age that Juliet is meant to be in the original text.
"A plague o' both your houses!"A boisterous ally of the Montagues.
- Ambiguously Gay: Sometimes played this way.
- Ax-Crazy: In Enfants de Vérone, he has a persistent maniacal laugh and expresses a desire to see the city burn.
- He's a drag queen in Baz Luhrmann's film version.
- Berserk Button: Questioning his manhood and how he "consorts" with Romeo.ke
- Bi the Way - Camp Gay: Most of the musical adaptations present him as one or the other.
- The Big Guy: He is usually presented as the muscle among the Montagues, despite not being a Montague.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Though he is technically not even part of the feud, he is very quick to fight.
- Bromantic Foil: To Romeo.
- Deadpan Snarker: To the point that audiences (despite typically knowing fate from high school literature) will sometimes take a while to get that he's not kidding after being stabbed by Tybalt.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Romeo is heartbroken about Mercutio's death... at least during the scene where Mercutio actually died. After Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge him, Mercutio is pretty much forgotten. Romeo expresses far more grief over Tybalt's death than Mercutio's.
- In fairness, that's likely because Romeo himself killed Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) and he feels guilt over that.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In some versions, he throws himself in front of Tybalt's sword rather than taking the blow by accident.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Benvolio and Romeo.
- Hot-Blooded: He and Tybalt are most often labeled as this. It makes sense that their duel leads to his death.
- His name probably comes from the word "mercurial," meaning rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood.
- The Lancer: Mercutio is callous next to lovesick Romeo, cynical where he's naive, and proud where he is mostly unassuming. And so they are best friends.
- Large Ham: Specially in the Baz Luhrmann's version where his entrance in the Capulet party is basically a musical number with Harold "WAAAAAAAAALT!!!" Perrineau in drag and hamming it up magnificently.
- Laughing Mad: Incredibly so in Enfants de Vérone.
- The McCoy: Compared to Benvolio and even Romeo.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Even when realizing his impending death, he can't resist a wisecrack or two.
- Sad Clown: It's pretty heavily implied that he's had love issues in the past.
- Sacrificial Lion: Famously, his death is used to mark a Genre Shift in the play. After he dies, it gets worse for everyone.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: The funny one in the trio. After he dies, the amount of 'funny' in the story drastically decreases.
- Taking the Bullet: Implied in the musical, in his dying song to Romeo: "I die so you may live, though it be a short life." Though it may simply be in reference to Mercutio fighting Tybalt in Romeo's stead, some versions actually show Mercutio throwing himself between them.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: With the "tall and dark" taken literally in quite a few productions; most recently in David Leveaux's 2013 Broadway revival.
- Tragic Bromance: With Romeo.
"Have at thee, coward!"Juliet's battlelusting cousin, who grew up at her side.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Invoked in the Zeferelli version, where Tybalt is a jovial troublemaker who kills Mercutio by accident.
- Asshole Victim
- Ax-Crazy: The dude outright admits to not knowing the word peace.
- Badass: Mercutio describes Tybalt this way to Benvolio. He can certainly hold his own in a swordfight.
- Blood Knight: See Card-Carrying Villain below.
- Card-Carrying Villain: "Peace? I hate the word."
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the Zefirelli version, he's (understandably) creeped out by his accidental killing of Mercutio. In the Baz Luhrmann version, he appears stunned at what he has done and has to be led away from the scene by Abra after Mercutio dies.
- The Fighting Narcissist
- Grumpy Bear
- Hair-Trigger Temper: One gets the feeling that Tybalt could be... difficult to interact with.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Franco Zefarelli version, stabbed with the sword he dropped during the fight. In the Baz Luhrmann version, shot repeatedly by Romeo with one of his own handguns.
- Informed Ability: Is supposedly a perfect gentleman, beloved by his uncle, and the best friend that Juliet's nurse ever had. We get none of this from his three scenes.
- It's All About Me
- Jerk Ass: No matter how he's played, Tybalt will have traces of this.
- Knight of Cerebus: Definitely. His killing of Mercutio signifies the shift into Tragedy the second half is famous for.
- Meaningful Name: Tybalt is the name of the hot-blooded prince of cats from the folk tales of Reynard the Fox. Tybalt is frequently made fun of for this, and is indeed hot-blooded.
- Nephewism: With Lady Capulet.
- Nice to the Waiter / Hidden Depths: Is introduced as a showy hothead, but after his death, we learn that he treated both the nurse and Juliet with kindness and was presumably a lot nicer when it came to his own clan.
- The Rival: To Romeo.
- Small Role, Big Impact: As noted above, he has 3 scenes, but his actions turn the story from a Romantic Comedy into a tragedy where most of the named characters die.
- Troubled, but Cute: Certainly in Baz Luhrmann's adaption according to the opinion of many. Zeferelli's more playful, less vicious, Tybalt was also quite attractive.
- Szilveszter Szabo in the aforementioned Hungarian musical is also pretty damn gorgeous.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Doesn't realise he's in a Romantic Comedy. His killing of Mercutio signifies the shift into Tragedy the second half is famous for.
"You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so."Juliet's milk nurse and guardian.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parental Figure
- Dirty Old Woman: Generally played that way, although the chronology of the play suggests she's actually in her mid-to-late 30s. (Which, considering the shorter life expectance back then, might be "middle age" in these days)
- Does Not Like Men: Considering how Benvolio and Mercutio treated her, however, she cannot be blamed.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: The stress of dealing with the other characters causes her to hit the bottle pretty hard.
- Matron Chaperone
- Parental Substitute: To Juliet.
- Sassy Servant
- Team Mom
- Women Are Wiser
'"Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast—"''
- Barefoot Sage: He is often portrayed as this (justified, since Franciscan friars often went barefoot). However, as "sagey" as he is, he still makes a fatal mistake.
- The Chessmaster: He uses Romeo and Juliet's relationship to end the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets. It works, but not in the way he wanted it to.
- Only Sane Man
- What the Hell, Hero?: To Romeo, twice. First, he calls him out for falling for a girl he met a day ago while completely forgetting about Rose. Secondly, he calls out Romeo for his excessive Wangst and tells him to suck it up and go do something about it.
"Happily met, my lady and my wife."
- Anti-Villain: Depending on your view, Paris could count as a Type IV. He's Romeo's rival for Juliet's hand, but is a good man who would have made a good husband for Juliet... Just the right guy, but in the wrong moment and place.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Romeo's Veronica.
- Demoted to Extra: Or left out altogether in subsequent adaptations.
- Meaningful Name: In a manner of speaking. "Paris" was a common name in Shakespeare's day for a plant also called "truelove", and it's very likely that he intended to show that, tragically, Juliet may have actually come to experience a fulfilling, life-long romance with Paris had she ended up with him.
- Nice Guy: Although how nice he is depends on the staging.
- Prince Charmless: Sometimes he's played as this, making the audience sympathize with Juliet for not wanting to marry him.
- Princely Young Man: The Gentleman type.
- Romantic False Lead
- Spared by the Adaptation: Most versions leave out the part where he's killed by Romeo. Averted in the 2013 film, however.
"My fingers itch."
- Abusive Parent: By modern standards at least — his exemplary quote indicates that he intends to beat Juliet for disobeying his will to marry Paris. Depending on the production, he may or may not go through with it and/or beat his wife.
- Berserk Button: Don't ignore his advice. The results aren't pretty.
- Despair Event Horizon: "My child is dead, and with her, all my hopes and dreams are buried."
- Noble Demon: He's a pretty rational man... until you get him worked up.
- Overprotective Dad: Ooh yeah.
- Precision F-Strike: By the standards of his time, "God's bread!" At least one modern-day translation renders it as "Goddammit!"
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Tries to talk Tybalt and Juliet out of some very bad decisions. When they ignore him, he snaps.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered to Tybalt and Juliet, respectively.
"Talk not to me, for I'll not say a word."
- Incest Subtext: She is strongly implied to be having an affair with Tybalt in the Luhrmann film- her own nephew! (Though possibly not a blood relative.)
- No Accounting for Taste: Many productions portray her relationship with Capulet as a loveless marriage.
- Manipulative Bitch: Has a rather unexpected scene in which she plots to poison Romeo for murdering Tybalt. She probably would have gone through with it, too, if not for ensuing events.
- Nephewism: With Tybalt.
- Teen Pregnancy: She had Juliet when she was Juliet's age. Justified as she's a noblewoman, and back then noblewomen were expected to marry very early.
"Some shall be pardoned, and some punished."
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Because he stopped to get some company for the trip delivering Friar Lawrence's letter, he was locked up for fear of contracting the plague, and wasn't able to deliver the letter explaining that Juliet was alive to Romeo.
- Small Role, Big Impact: For the character whose failure to do a simple job drives the ultimate tragedy of the story, he has a grand total of four lines in the original work. But dang, are those four lines important.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom