Romeo and Juliet – Act 1 Study Guide – Literary terms

Aside Definition:When a character’s dialogue is spoken but not heard by the other actors on the stage.Example: “(Aside) Is she a Capulet? O dear Account! My life is my foe’s debt.”
Blank Verse Definition: Verse without rhyme, especially that which uses iambic pentameter.Example: “Put up your swords; you know not what you do.”
Characterization Definition: A description of the distinctive nature or features of someone or something.Example:”In shape no bigger than an agate stone… Her wagons poles made of long spinners legs the cover of the wings of grasshoppers.”
Couplet Definition: Two rhyming lines of iambic pentameterExample: “This precious book of love, this unbound lover, to beautify him only lacks a cover.”
Epithet Definition: A name someone is given (usually long)Example: “Enemies to peace.”
Figurative language Definition: Words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation.Example: “Can I go forward when my heart is here?” – Romeo – Hyperbole
Foil Definition: A character who contrasts with another character.Example: Tybault is motivated by hate and Romeo is motivated by love.
Foreshadowing Definition: Hints the futureExample: This is when Romeo was talking about the event that might lead to his death.
Metaphor Definition: A comparison without using like or as.Example: “What, ho! You men, you beat, that quench the fire of your pernicious rage With purple fountains issuing from your veins…”
Simile Definition: A comparison using like or as.Example: “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hands upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear.”
Pun Definition: A play on words.Example: “You have dancing shoes with nimble soles.”
Paradox Definition: A statement that contradicts itself and still seems true somehow.Example: “My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late.”
Oxymoron Definition: Two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect.Example: “O loving hate.”
Alliteration Definition: Two or more words in a phrase or line of poetry share the same beginning sound.Example: “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes.”

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