Tybalt

Tybalt

Shakespearean Character
Shakespearean Character Less

Tybalt

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Tybalt is a fictional character and the main antagonist in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. He is Lady Capulet's nephew, Juliet's hot-tempered cousin and Romeo's rival. Tybalt shares the same name as the character Tibert/Tybalt the "Prince of Cats" in Reynard the Fox, a point of mockery in the play. Mercutio repeatedly calls Tybalt "King of Cats", referring not only to Reynard but to the Italian word cazzo (pr. CAT-so) meaning "penis". Luigi da Porto adapted the story as Giulietta e Romeo and included it in his Historia novellamente ritrovata di due Nobili Amanti published in 1530. Da Porto drew on Pyramus and Thisbe and Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. He gave it much of its modern form, including the names of the lovers, the rival families of Montecchi and Capuleti, and the location in Verona. 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 connection between them is a mention in Dante's Purgatorio as an example of civil dissention.

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