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GCSE English Literature (Romeo and Juliet)

Hi,
I was planning an answer on Benvolio but I'm really struggling on writing an essay on him?
Does anyone have any essays/ideas on him because I can't really find any good ones on google?
Hi
I think Benovlio is a relatively small character so I wouldn't expect for a question about him to come up, but here are some potential ideas:

P1: Peacemaker character
The word "benvolio" has connotations of benevolence and love, and his name means "good wishes" in latin I believe. He attempts to stop the "quarrel" in act 1 scene 1 and, in attempting to de-escalate the fight he contrasts tybalt and the servants
Methods: Juxtaposition of peace vs fight
Foreshadowing of his name perhaps
Visual representation of the feud

P2 He is the antithesis of Tybalt
Tybalt is a violent and one-dimensional character, a product of rage and the feud. He uses the motif of fire "firey tybalt" in order to embody the spreading flames of the feud that leap to Romeo "fire eyed fury be my conduct now" and even to juliet "fire-footed steeds" Benvolio is the complete opposite of this, and is rewarded by Shakespeare as being the only young character left alive at the end of the play, perhaps a message to the audience

P3: In act 3 scene 1 Romeo asks benvolio to "draw" and help him "beat down their swords" and the monosyllabic nature of this statement emphasises the frenzied panic and inability of Romeo to prevent the fight. This links to fate, and you could talk about how this more closely resembles the common tropes of tragedies of fighting fate and hubris. It could also be useful for you to link this with how benvolio pleads with the Prince to spare Romeo, or perhaps how Prince escalus is fair and balanced, as is benvolio.

Well that's all I really have for benvolio, I probably need to revise him myself so it'd be helpful if anyone else had any suggestions?
Hope this helps!
(edited 1 year ago)
Hello, whilst I did do Romeo & Juliet in my English Literature GCSE last year we didn't have any questions about Benvolio, so I can give a couple prompt suggestions however but I can't promise they are the best.

1) Comparison of foil characters. We always hear of Mercutio being a foil to Romeo, but what about Benvolio to Tybalt? On one hand, we have a character with a fiery personality and a high sense of pride that ultimately leads to his death, and in the other we have a more collected, emotionally intelligent individual who's only want is for peace. A scene you can draw inspiration from is the fight between the 2 houses at the beginning of Act 1.

2) Benvolio's well rounded character. Benvolio translated is 'good-will', so immediately the audience is given an insight into his personality just by hearing his name. He establishes himself as a peacemaker when interrupting the fight amongst servants in the first scene to avoid a dire situation, however later on in Act 1 we are shown that Benvolio isn't quite the sensible character we are led to believe when he convinces Romeo to sneak in un-invited to Capulet's masquerade ball, which could have dire consequences. So whilst he appears to be a minor character, Shakespeare devolved Benvolio over the course of the play into a well-rounded, 3-dimensional individual who is a sensible peacemaker and trustworthy friend with a troubled mind like any other normal human. You could potentially draw upon a quote at the beginning to emphasise this.

3)Consequences of Benvolio. Whilst we are introduced to Benvolio as the calm peacemaker, can he really be considered a 'friend' of Romeo's when his decisions ultimately led to the death of Romeo & Juliet? There are numerous decisions he has made that has led to multiple deaths, starting with the most noticable one where he encourages Romeo to sneak un-invited to Capulet's party despite Romeo stating he has concerns? He also encourages the pursuit of Juliet which creates a chain of unfortunate events. 2 Other things he has done is-1) Despite being aware of the mounting challenges faced by Romeo and Juliet after their secret marriage, Benvolio does not take proactive measures to intervene or help them navigate the complex circumstances And 2) In Act V, Benvolio unintentionally exacerbates the tragic events by falsely informing Romeo that Juliet is dead. This misinformation drives Romeo to take his own life beside Juliet's tomb. The resulting chain of events leads to Juliet's own tragic demise upon awakening to find Romeo dead.

These are what I could think of based of what I remember studying Romeo & Juliet, hope this helps:smile: (Also sorry, I got lazy writing the last one) let me know of any other questions you might have and how it goes.
(edited 1 year ago)
Maybe you could include how at the beginning of the play, when Benvolio tries to stop the fight Tybalt overrules him symbolising how peace has less power than violence in Verona.
Original post by please help me x
Hello, whilst I did do Romeo & Juliet in my English Literature GCSE last year we didn't have any questions about Benvolio, so I can give a couple prompt suggestions however but I can't promise they are the best.

1) Comparison of foil characters. We always hear of Mercutio being a foil to Romeo, but what about Benvolio to Tybalt? On one hand, we have a character with a fiery personality and a high sense of pride that ultimately leads to his death, and in the other we have a more collected, emotionally intelligent individual who's only want is for peace. A scene you can draw inspiration from is the fight between the 2 houses at the beginning of Act 1.

2) Benvolio's well rounded character. Benvolio translated is 'good-will', so immediately the audience is given an insight into his personality just by hearing his name. He establishes himself as a peacemaker when interrupting the fight amongst servants in the first scene to avoid a dire situation, however later on in Act 1 we are shown that Benvolio isn't quite the sensible character we are led to believe when he convinces Romeo to sneak in un-invited to Capulet's masquerade ball, which could have dire consequences. So whilst he appears to be a minor character, Shakespeare devolved Benvolio over the course of the play into a well-rounded, 3-dimensional individual who is a sensible peacemaker and trustworthy friend with a troubled mind like any other normal human. You could potentially draw upon a quote at the beginning to emphasise this.

3)Consequences of Benvolio. Whilst we are introduced to Benvolio as the calm peacemaker, can he really be considered a 'friend' of Romeo's when his decisions ultimately led to the death of Romeo & Juliet? There are numerous decisions he has made that has led to multiple deaths, starting with the most noticable one where he encourages Romeo to sneak un-invited to Capulet's party despite Romeo stating he has concerns? He also encourages the pursuit of Juliet which creates a chain of unfortunate events. 2 Other things he has done is-1) Despite being aware of the mounting challenges faced by Romeo and Juliet after their secret marriage, Benvolio does not take proactive measures to intervene or help them navigate the complex circumstances And 2) In Act V, Benvolio unintentionally exacerbates the tragic events by falsely informing Romeo that Juliet is dead. This misinformation drives Romeo to take his own life beside Juliet's tomb. The resulting chain of events leads to Juliet's own tragic demise upon awakening to find Romeo dead.

These are what I could think of based of what I remember studying Romeo & Juliet, hope this helps:smile: (Also sorry, I got lazy writing the last one) let me know of any other questions you might have and how it goes.

Those are some really good points, I hadn't even thought about showing the negative side of benvolio
Original post by MrWinner
Those are some really good points, I hadn't even thought about showing the negative side of benvolio


Ah thank you

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