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Literary Devices In Romeo and Juliet

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Samantha Feil

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of Literary Devices In Romeo and Juliet

Literary Devices In
Romeo and Juliet

Work Cited
Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. New York:Oxford University Press, 1982. Print.
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Soliloquy is a speech an actor gives as though talking to himself or herself
Act 2, Scena 2, lines 2-25, Romeo starts his famous soliloquy about Juliet, “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks, It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were! She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that? Her eye discourses; I will answer it. I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks: Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek! ”
Paradox is a statement that at first glance appears to contradict itself, but actually holds a deeper truth. Example:
Act 1, Scene 5, line 137, Juliet expresses a paradox when she speaks of Romeo, saying, “My only love sprung from my only hate.” This seems to be a contradictory statement, because love and hate are opposites.
An allusion is a reference to historical or literary figure, event, or object. Examples:
In Act 1, Scene 1, lines 216-217, Romeo says "She'll not be hit with Cupid's arrow:"Romeo is alluding that Rosaline will not fall in love.
In Act 1, Scene 1, line 217, Romeo says that Rosaline “hath Dian’s wit.” He is alluding to Diana, goddess of chastity, who opposed love and marriage. In other words, Rosaline thinks like Diana and will not fall in love with Romeo.
Tragedy is a story with an unhappy ending or tragical event. Examples:
Act 3, Scene 1, when the Prince says "And for that offence immediately we do exile him hence." Romeo is now banished from Verona forever.
Act 5, Scene 3, Romeo says "Here's to my love! [Drinks] O true apothecary, thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die." Romeo drinks the poison, kisses Juliet, and dies next to her "dead" body.
Light/Dark Imagery
This contrast is not given a particular metaphoric meaning—light is not always good, and dark is not always evil. On the contrary, light and dark are generally used to provide a sensory contrast and to hint at opposed alternatives. Examples:
Act 1, Scene 4, lines 11-12, as Romeo and his friends are about to go in the Capulet's party, Romeo announces "Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy, I will bear the light" . As a torch-bearer, he wouldn't wear a mask or do any dancing. He's in a dark/unhappy mood, "heavy", so he will only carry the light.
Soliloquy Count.
Act 2, Scene 2, lines 33-36/38-49, Juliet begins her famous soliloquy about Romeo, "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet./Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself."
Act 1, Scene 5, lines 44-49, Romeo sees Juliet for the first time and exclaims, "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows." Romeo describes Juliet's beauty in terms of dark and light. He says that her beauty is brighter than the blaze of any torch and that her presence makes the whole room light up. The bright blaze of Juliet's beauty is made even brighter by the contrasts with the blackness of an "Ethiope".
An aside are words spoken by an actor supposedly heard only by the audience. Examples:
Act 3, Scene 5, lines 81-83, Juliet says, "Villain and he be many miles asunder. -- God Pardon him! I do, with all my heart; And yet no man like he doth grieve my heart."
Romeo uses asides as he is listening to Juliet’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 2. In line 25, he says, “She speaks: O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art As glorious to this night, being o'er my head As is a winged messenger of heaven Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds And sails upon the bosom of the air.” He is not talking to Juliet, but talking to himself.
A satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Example:
Mercurtio (a mercurial figure) has been portrayed in this play as a likeable and easy-going fellow, but in Act III, Scene I, Mercutio, who has been mortally wounded, reacts in his usual humorous fashion:
MERCUTIO: “No, ‘tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but ‘tis enough; ‘twill serve. Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. I am pepper’d, I warrant, for this world.”
Foreshadowing describes when a piece of dialogue or action in a work refers to events that will happen later in the story even though the characters have no prior knowledge such events will occur.
Act 2, Scene 6, lines 9-11, Friar Laurence says,"These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which as they kiss consume." Here Friar Laurence foreshadows that Romeo and Juliet will die.
Act 3, Scene 1, Benvolio says to Mercutio as they are walking around Verona, "I pray thee, good Mercutio, let's retire: The day is hot, the Capulets abroad, And, if we meet, we shall not scape a brawl; For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring." This is foreshadowing that there will be a brawl between them and the Capulets, ending in a death
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