How does Shakespeare show the importance of pride and honour in one or two male characters in Romeo and Juliet?
The scene in which pride is most shown is Act III Scene 1. The two most prideful characters are Tybalt and Mercutio. Shakespeare shows the two characters’ pride by using carefully chosen words. Tybalt says: ‘Thou consortest with Romeo.’ The word ‘consort’, which was very negative for an Elizabethan audience, strongly hurts Mercutio’s pride. His reaction indeed proves it: ‘I will not budge for no man’s pleasure I.’ Shakespeare shows Mercutio’s arrogance and stubbornness, thus his pride. His strong self-esteem is also shown with the words ‘O calm, dishonourable, vile submission’. Shakespeare uses the word ‘submission’ to present Mercutio’s disgust of the fact of losing face. The way in which Romeo’s friend responds to Tybalt’s insults is violent: he immediately starts to fight him, oblivious to Benvolio’s warnings. This reaction, along with the word ‘dishonourable’ perfectly describes Mercutio’s misplaced honour, thus turning into pride. Mercutio’s sense of being, which can be perceived as arrogance, is shown until the very last moments of his life: as he is wounded and dying, Mercutio still jokes and tries to catch his friends’ attention: ‘Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.’, ‘Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch.’ Mercutio, until the very last minute of his life, doesn’t want to show he was defeated by a ‘braggart.’ Shakespeare also shows Tybalt’s pride in this scene. It is seen directly through his words: ‘thou consortest’ and ‘thou art a villain’. At first sight, it seems like Tybalt wants to honour his family. However, neither Montagues nor Capulets know the reason of the everlasting grudge. Consequently, Tybalt isn’t violent to honour his family, he insults for the sake of insulting, for the sake of feeling superior in front of other people. This misplaced honour is in fact pride and arrogance. Tybalt says to Romeo:...
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