What do the characters of Benvolio and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet symbolize, if anything? Mercutio's character mainly provides jokes, and then, in his hot-headedness, is slain by Tybalt.
Benvolio at first tries to take Romeo's mind of Rosaline, and then tries to stop the violence between first Tybalt and Mercutio with Romeo, and then between Romeo and Tybalt. He then, after Romeo kills Tybalt, reports to the Prince of Venice what happened.
Do these two characters have any special meaning, represent any quality in particular, or represent some person from Shakespeare's time that members of the audience would have recognized?