Benvolio, The UN of Verona
Benvolio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet plays the role of the peacemaker, attempting to separate the Montague and Capulet houses as they feud. Similar to the United Nations, an organization invented to maintain peace around the world, whilst also promoting international cooperation. Aside from being the peacekeeper Benvolio also supports his cousin Romeo through his love struggles, but later becomes overwhelmed by doing the right thing and pleasing the higher individuals in Verona, confessing to the Prince of Romeo’s murder, throwing Romeo into exile. This proves that Benvolio would rather stay true then protect his friends and family.
Throughout the play Benvolio consistently plays the role of the peacemaker, for example in the first Act Benvolio sees a fight breaking out between the servants of both the Capulet and Montague houses, and intervenes; “Part fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do” (1,1,76). Here Shakespeare uses an allusion to the Bible: “father forgive them, they know not what they are doing” (luke 23:24). Shakespeare uses this as the servants don’t essentially see the trouble they are creating, especially with the Prince, who wants to keep the city in peace. Benvolio continues to play the role of the peace maker, even towards the end of the play as Tybalt confronts Romeo in front of the public; “We talk here in a public haunt of men: either withdraw unto some private place, and reason coldly of your grievances, or else depart. Here all eyes gaze on us” (3,1,1547). Benvolio says this as he wants to break up Mercutio, Romeo, and Tybalt before a serious fight started, and Romeo and Mercutio get into trouble. He does this not only to stop the fight but also because he cares about the status of Romeo and Mercutio. Benvolio will do what it takes to stop conflict between the two houses, he continues throughout the story to provide the Prince and higher individuals in Verona with information on the fights that occurred.
From the beginning of the story we can see that Benvolio is compassionate towards his cousin Romeo. He supports him as he suffers heartbreak, and guides him as he finds a new love. In Scene 1 of Act 1 Romeo tells his cousin Benvolio of his agony, as Rosaline who he had thought he had truly loved did not share the same feelings. Romeo who is expecting Benvolio to make banter out of his grief is surprised when Benvolio says “no, coz I rather weep” (1,1,209). As Benvolio would rather cry than laugh at Romeo’s troubles, proving that Benvolio actually cares about his cousin. He then gives Romeo advice: “By giving liberty unto thine eyes. Examine other beauties” (1,1,256). He then proposes to crash the Capulet ball, where Romeo meets Juliet. “At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves with all the admired beauties of Verona.” (1,2,319). Benvolio then soon becomes overwhelmed with balancing the support of his cousin, and telling the truth and making the Prince’s job easier.
There are many times in the story in which Benvolio tells the Prince of the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets, attempting to keep the peace. We can see that Benvolio will always try and do the right thing, which may even put his loved ones at risk. After the fight scene in Act 1 Benvolio consults Montague and the Prince, and explains the battle, which could danger the wellbeing of the servants of Montague. “Here were the servants of your adversary, And yours, close fighting ere I did approach. I drew to part them.” (1,1,82).
To avenge the death of Mercutio, Romeo kills Tybalt. Benvolio who had witnessed the whole scene then confesses to the Prince after telling Romeo to flee: “O, Noble Prince, I can discover all the unlucky manage of this fatal brawl. There lies the man, slain by young Romeo, that slew thy kinsman, brave Mercutio” (3,1,1695). After Benvolio tells about the battle to the Prince he then decides to exile Romeo, eventually causing his death. Benvolio is fair, and restates the happenings of the battle without bias, but still exposes Romeo’s murder, banishing him from the city.
From Act 1 Scene 1 to the last scene he was in Benvolio shows that he is against the fighting of the Capulet and Montague houses. Eventually the UN of Verona met his goal to keep peace in Verona, although there were some major costs to this. After the death of the young couple the two houses, Montague and Capulet finally ended their feud. Benvolio was somewhat behind both of the outcomes of the play: the peace between the two houses, and the exile of Romeo, which ultimately killed Romeo and his lover. Even though Benvolio proves he cares about his cousin and his friends, evidence shows that he would rather stay true then lie to take hide the wrongs of his friends.