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Mercutio's death serves a few functions in the play. In reference to the plot, it is Mercutio's death that sparks Romeo's feelings of honour and loyalty for his friend, which in turn leads Romeo to kill Tybalt. Subsequently, Romeo is punished for his actions by being banished from Verona and kept from Juliet.
Mercutio's death is also the catalyst that leads to the climax of the play, which is Romeo killing Tybalt. At the beginning of Act III, scene i, Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt. Having just come from his wedding to Juliet, Romeo feels too much love to fight, especially to fight a relative of Juliet's. After Mercutio is killed, Romeo takes action and kills Tybalt in revenge. This leads the play down a very distinctly tragic path. After this moment, Romeo and Juliet can never have a happy ending.
Mercutio's death is the turning piont of the play as, it turns from a comedy to a treadgedy. After Mercutio's curse, bad things begin to happen to the families, it is like fate or destiny for the houses.
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