Drama Unit (Romeo and Juliet) Lit Terms

aside a remark or passage by a character in a play that is intended to be heard by the audience but unheard by the other characters in the playExample: Friar Laurence [Aside] I would I knew not why it should be slowed. Look, sir, here comes the lady toward my cell. (4.1.16-17)Explanation: Friar Laurence expresses his thoughts as Paris wonders why the sudden haste of Capulet now to have Juliet and him marry.
dialogue conversation between two or more characters in a playExample: Romeo and Juliet: Annotated Balcony Scene, Act 2, Scene 2Explanation: This is the scene when Romeo and Juliet are having dialogue about being married and starting to live life together.
dramatic irony irony in which facts or events are unknown to a character in the play but known to the reader, audience, or other charactersExample:A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrowsDoth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife. (Act I prologue,]Explanation:This is letting the audience know that they are doomed from the beginning, while the characters do not have a clue.
foil a character whose qualities contrast another character and thus emphasize the traits of the the other character by contrast.Example:Romeo, Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover!Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh,Speak but one rhyme and I am satisfied.(II.1.7-9)Explanation: Mercutio contradicts all of Romeos love life ideas. He also mocks his poetic devices.
monologue a long, uninterrupted speech presented in front of other charactersExample:JULIET: Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy nameWhen I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it?But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?That villain cousin would have killed my husband.Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring!Your tributary drops belong to woe,Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy.My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband.All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?Some word there was, worser than Tybalt’s death,That murd’red me. I would forget it fain;But O, it presses to my memoryLike damnèd guilty deeds to sinners’ minds!’Tybalt is dead, and Romeo–banishèd!’That ‘banishèd,’ that one word ‘banishèd,’Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s deathWas woe enough, if it had ended there;Or, if sour woe delights in fellowshipAnd needly will be ranked with other griefs,Why followèd not, when she said ‘Tybalt’s dead,’Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,Which modern lamentation might have moved?But with a rearward following Tybalt’s death,’Romeo is banishèd’–to speak that wordIs father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,All slain, all dead. ‘Romeo is banishèd’–There is no end, no limit, measure, bound,In that word’s death; no words can that woe sound.Explanation: This is Juliets monologue about Romeo and how much she likes him.
soliloquy a dramatic speech, revealing inner thoughts and feelings, spoken aloud by one character while alone on the stageExample:”What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?” Explanation: This shows how romeo feels about Juliet, while he is watching her.
stage direction an instruction written into the script of a play, indicating stage actions, movements of performers, or production requirementsExample: II,1,799[Enter BENVOLIO and MERCUTIO]Explanation: This is telling these two characters to walk on to the stage and join the scene.
tragedy a drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstancesExample: Juliet. Yea, noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger! [Snatching ROMEO’s dagger] This is thy sheath; [Stabs herself] there rust, and let me die.Explanation: Juliet is killing herself over her deceased Romeo, after he killed himself.
tragic flaw the character defect that causes the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedyExample: All throughout the story this is shown by Romeo.Explanation: Romeo can be seen as a tragic hero. Some have identified his flaw as falling in love too deeply and too quickly. His rash behavior comes out in other ways: For example, he would not have rushed to kill himself as soon as he believed that Juliet was dead.
tragic hero a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy who is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeatExample:Juliet can be considered as a Tragic Hero. Juliet was willing to sacrifice her life in order to be with Romeo. Her tragic flaw is her loyalty to Romeo.Explanation:This is shown throughout the play, because she did not want to get married to anyone at the beginning until she meets Romeo.

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