What is the relationship between Romeo and his friends Mercutio and Benvolio in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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While it is clear that Romeo is very close with his cousin Benvolio who is also his friend, as well as his friend Mercutio, it's also very evident that Romeo and his friends have very different views on things. In fact, Benvolio and Mercutio act as two different dramatic foils to Romeo.

Benvolio serves as Romeo's dramatic foil by being the peace-loving, rational, voice of reason in comparison to Romeo who is impetuous and emotionally driven. We see the closeness of their friendship when Benvolio promises Lord Montague to find out what is troubling Romeo in the very first scene and to give him counsel. However, their dramatic foil relationship also becomes evident when Benvolio begs Romeo, "Be rul'd by me: forget to think of [Rosaline]," and Romeo's only response is "O, teach me how I should forget to think!" (I.i.227-28). Romeo's refusal to listen to Benvolio also shows us his refusal to think rationally, which helps us see their dramatic foil relationship despite their close friendship.

Mercutio serves as Romeo's dramatic foil by taking love lightly and treating it as a joke in contrast to Romeo's tendency to treat love with complete seriousness. Like Benvolio, Mercutio's close friendship with Romeo is also seen in his desires to give Romeo advice and bring him out of his gloomy state of mind. Mercutio tries to coax Romeo out of his gloominess by trying to persuade him to crash the Capulets' ball along with Benvolio. His persuasion techniques not only show us his friendship with Romeo, they also show us his comic and even lewd side, demonstrating just how lightly he views love. One example can be seen in the lines, "If love be rough with you, be rough with love. / Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down," which can be interpreted as a sexual innuendo (I.iv.28-29).

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In Romeo and Juliet, what is the relationship between the Prince and Mercutio?

The play never specifies what the familial relationship is between Mercutio and the Prince.  The reader can probably assume that they are cousins or uncle and nephew; Mercutio would not be his brother or his son because Mercutio would then have a title.  Since he does not have a title, the relationship would not be that of immediate family although it is clear that the Prince is close with Mercutio because he is very upset when Mercutio is murdered by Tybalt and does not kill Romeo (he is more merciful) because he was avenging the death of his own kinsman.

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What is the relationship between Romeo and Mercutio from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

Romeo and Mercutio are just good friends, and that is the extent of their relationship. Romeo and Benvolio are cousins, and Mercutio is related to the Prince, as the Prince states after the confrontation when Tybalt slays Mercutio and Romeo then slays Tybalt.

When Tybalt approaches Mercutio, looking to fight Romeo, he says, "Mercutio, thou consort’st with Romeo." In other words, Tybalt knows Mercutio as someone who is friends with Romeo, not someone who is related to him in some other way. Then, after Tybalt has killed Romeo, Romeo...

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moves to attack him, insisting that one of them must join Mercutio on his way to heaven. Again, Tybalt refers to Mercutio as Romeo's friend, saying, "Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here / Shalt with him hence." Again, Mercutio is identified as someone with whom Romeo consorts, or hangs out with.

When the Prince comes to hear what has happened, he learns that Tybalt slew Mercutio, and then Romeo slew Tybalt. When he addresses the two families, he says, "I have an interest in your hearts' proceeding. / My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a-bleeding." He means that blood of his family has been spilled as a part of the long-standing Capulet-Montague feud; thus, we know that he is related to Mercutio, but Romeo is not.

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

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 take anything seriously.  Life seems to be a lark for him.

The fight between Mercutio and Tybalt is just playing around for him. The reality that he or anybody could be killed doesn't enter his mind, it is all just blowing off steam.  I think he is very surprised that he has been morally wounded.

Of course his death is important for several plot reasons.  Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished although earlier the Prince had declared that if any broke the peace they would die.  Since it was Tybalt who started the whole thing and Romeo was avenging the death of his friend and the Prince's kinsman, the Prince relents and banishes Romeo.

Mercutio's relationship to the play is important because his death triggers the resulting deaths of both Romeo and Juliet.

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