How does Shakespeare present Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet?

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Mercutio is famous for his puns and his very quick brain that is able to turn any conversation on its head through his jokes. His puns are not always in jest - sometimes they are in great bitterness, such as when he urges Romeo to call on him tomorrow to find him a "grave" man. However, it is important to identify the function of Mercutio and his dialogue. His speech serves to expose the self-love and romantic sentiments of the play. He mocks everyone - Romeo for his self-absorption to love and Tybalt for his fashion. It is interesting to that while most characters die citing fate as responsible for their demises, Mercutio does not fall in to this category. He is not a character to be played with by external forces. He lays the cause of his death very firmly at the door of the two warring houses, as he closes with his immortal words: "A plague on both your houses."

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