What is Mercutio's relationship to the play Romeo and Juliet?

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Mercutio is Romeo's best friend.  He is also a kinsman of the Prince.

As for the relationship to the play, he functions as the comic relief.   Shakespeare realized that in a tragedy , it was necessary to relieve tension created by the circumstances in the story.  The best way to do this is through comic relief.  Until his death, Mercutio is a jokester.  He doesn't seem to...

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