Verona, Italy, 2012
He sat lazily in his leather armchair between his pitch black office walls, holding a glass of whiskey and gazing out into the cloudy sky above the grandeur of the Capulet Industries. The usual arrogant frown was on his face, but this time it had a hint of melancholy in it. He stood up, turned around, and massaged his eyelids with his hands, getting tired of the dull, grey sky.
It was starting to rain.
He walked towards the window. Unintentionally, he saw his nametag placed on his desk: Tybalt C., Vice President. Would this name end up on wanted posters all across town? Would a spoiled Capulet child get this office, just like all the Capulet children who have their marvelous lives set up for them from the moment they’re born? Tybalt tried not to let those distracting thoughts bother him and closed the window as one last cold breeze smelling like a mix of metal and damp soil snuck in.
The wind blew right into Tybalt’s face like a blade. It didn’t help Tybalt. Now thoughts of all sorts were mixed up together like tangled strings in his head. He started walking back and forth in his office, breathing restlessly.
I know what I am. I tend to be more quick-tempered than others, but I’m not an impulsive fool, he thought to himself. His brows twisted into an even more puzzled frown like an unbreakable knot. To calm himself, he sat down on his white couch at the other end of the room. It felt like he was embraced by a bed of feathers. His anxiety was lessened by the comfort, but his mind was still busier than the machinery outside. It’s Juliet’s life. I’m not like the elders. Children’s lives aren’t to be manipulated like dolls, he thought. My cousin has the freedom of choosing who she loves, and she’s made that choice, all of us would have to make peace with that, whether we like it or not. Even if the boy is a foe, a rival, an enemy, a…
Suddenly he stood up. He stood as straight as a flagpole. His face became bewildered, as though shocked by himself.
This isn’t right.
Romeo is a Montague.
The ball was going as fine as a ball gets, and that Montague prick showed up uninvited, he thought angrily. That prick showed up uninvited, and just like all his good-for-nothing kinsmen, Romeo Montague ruined everything for everyone!
Tybalt angrily staggered to his desk, sat down in his pitch black leather chair. Behind him, the drops of rain gradually became more and more rapid, leaking between the heavy, dull machinery of the Capulet Industries. The complex yet controlled systems of machinery squeaked occasionally, furthermore unsettling Tybalt.
He felt overwhelmed. He hated Romeo. He knew that for sure. But was it really his choice to interfere? I should be aware of the consequences, he thought.
A deafening bolt of thunder pushed its way down from the thick, grey clouds.
“No!” Tybalt yelled. Juliet cannot marry Romeo. I will not allow this. My family will not be harassed like this. I cannot let this happen. I will not let this happen. I shall stop this humiliation from the shameless Montague.
He glared frightfully at his office again, which would perhaps soon not belong to him.
For the family’s honor, it’s worth being a criminal.
Now breathing steadily, he firmly walked towards his desk. With a stiff hand, he opened his bottom drawer. He peeked slowly, as though scared of what’s inside. In the drawer lay a shiny, black pistol, reflecting his irritated face, like a mirror judging the truest sides of humanity. He picked it up and slowly tucked it under his jacket. Slowly but firmly, he walked towards the door, each heavy footstep sounding like a giant clock hand moving. He stepped out, closing the door behind him.
Tybalt walked down the dark corridor, menacingly staring forward. Slowly the elevator doors opened. For a moment, he stood in front of it like a statue. Then he glanced back at his black office doors, before silently entering the elevator.
The metal doors closed before him, sending him down. The hallway fell back into a deathly silence again, as though no one has ever been there.
The narrative “Family’s Honor” I wrote is about the protagonist Tybalt making the decision of killing Romeo, a family rival and his cousin’s lover, to save the family name.
In order to set a dark, melancholic mood, I used a range of vocabulary with negative connotations like “dull”, “impatient”, “tangled”, and “bewildered” to create a stressed mood emphasizing Tybalt’s internal conflict. To further establish the mood, I altered the setting. Instead of setting it in the 15th century like the Shakespearean story, I set my version in the modern era since its monochromatic furniture like “pitch black…chair” and mechanic industrialization like “dull machinery” emphasizes the gloomy mood. Modernity also helps develop symbolism. Through words like “controlled” and “mechanic”, the industrialization represents the depressing mood of the Capulet children controlled by elders like machines.
Characterization is present throughout my piece focusing on two different sides of Tybalt’s personality. I characterized him with a gentler side rather than the flat, impulsive maniac in the original Shakespearean script. More positively connoted words like “comfort” and “freedom” were used for his considerate side while his darker personality is accompanied by negatively connoted words like “unsettling” and “deafening”.
I established a style in this story. I used dark, eccentric metaphors like “breeze…like a blade” and “frown…like an unbreakable knot”. They also help to build the mood. Short, staccato sentences were frequently used like “This isn’t right” and “I will not allow this”. A theme of the piece is family since it’s consistently emphasized in phrases like “for the family”. It’s the conflict’s cause and why Tybalt decides to commit murder in the denouement. Conflict is frequently shown as the whole plot focuses on the internal conflict of Tybalt as he struggles with his tough decision. He constantly switches between considerate thoughts: “children…aren’t to be manipulated” and really aggressive ones: “Romeo…ruined everything for everyone!”.