Romeo and Juliet Literary Devices

oxymoron bringing together two contradictory terms as in “wise fool” or “feather of lead”•Example: In Act 1, Scene 1, line 181, Romeo uses several oxymora (the plural of “oxymoron”) to describe the relationship of love and hate. He says, “O brawling love, O loving hate.”
Allusion reference to historical or literary figure, event, or object•Example: 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.
Pun a play on words based on the similarity of sound between two words with different meanings•Example: In Act 1, Scene 4, lines 14-16, Romeo is feeling sad, so he does not want to dance. He says to the others, “You have dancing shoes / With nimble soles. I have a soul of lead / so stakes me to the ground I cannot move.”
Imagery representation in words of a vivid sensory experience•Example: In Act 1, Scene 5, lines 55 and 56, Romeo uses imagery to describe Juliet’s beauty when he says, “So shows a dove trooping with crows / As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.”
Paradox A statement that might seem to contradict itself but is nevertheless true; for example,”less is more.”•Example: In Act 1, Scene 5, line 152, Juliet expresses a paradox when she speaks ofRomeo, saying, “My only love sprung from my only hate.” This seems to be a contradictory statement, because love and hate are opposites.
Metaphor an implied comparison between two unlike things•Example: In Act 2, Scene 2, line 3, Romeo uses a metaphor, saying, “Juliet is the sun,”meaning that Juliet is bright and beautiful.
Soliloquy A speech an actor gives as though talking to himself or herself•Example: Romeo starts his famous soliloquy about Juliet with the words, “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks” (II.ii.2). He is speaking to himself about Juliet.
Aside words spoken by an actor supposedly heard only by the audience•Example: Romeo uses asides as he is listening to Juliet’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 2. In line 27, he says, “She speaks.” He is not talking to Juliet, the only other person on stage.Only the audience is intended to hear this line.
Hyperbole a figure of speech in which the truth is exaggerated for emphasis or humorous effect•Example: In Act 2, Scene 2, line 140, Juliet says that her “bounty is as boundless as the sea.” In other words, she says what she has to offer Romeo is wider than the ocean.
Simile A direct comparison of unlike things using “like” or “as”•Example: In Act 2, Scene 6, lines 8-10, Friar Lawrence uses a simile to warn Romeo about being too passionate too soon. He says:These violent delights have violent endsAnd in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which, as they kiss, consume.
Character foil Sets off or illuminates the major character – usually to create a contrast that is favorable to the major character. Ex. Act I Scene III – The nurse serves as a foil for Lady Capulet Explanation – The nurse rambles using bawdy, common language. She is frank and unrefined. Lady Capulet speaks like a noble woman. Her lines are in blank verse or rhymed couplets. Lady Capulet’s language is indirect and refined.
Monologue A long, uninterrupted speech that a character speaks in front of other characters
Motif devices that continually reoccur in a work. Ex. Images of light and dark throughout Romeo and Juliet.
Dramatic Irony It occurs when the audience is aware of something that the characters in the story are not aware of.
Alliteration the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
Apostrophe a figure of speech in which the poet addresses an absent person
Dynamic vs static character A static character, in this vocabulary, is one that does not undergo important change A dynamic character, in contrast, is one that does undergo an important change in the course of the story
Iambic pentameter a line of verse, each consisting of one short syllable followed by one long syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity.
Onomatopoeia A word associated with a sound
Personification Giving non human things human characteristics
Understatement Saying something as being smaller, worse, or less important than it actually is.
Mercutio Romeo’s witty and loyal friend who is slain by Tybalt when defending Romeo
Prince Banishes Romeo from Verona after he kills Tybalt
Benvolio Romeo’s peaceable good natured friend
Apothecary Illegally sells Romeo poison
Lady Montague Romeo’s mother who dies of grief when Romeo is banished
Lord Montague Romeo’s father who along with Capulet originated the feud between the families
Tybalt Juliet’s hot headed cousin who kills Mercutio then is killed by Romeo
Paris Juliet’s suitor and cousin of the Prince. Killed by Romeo at the Capulet tomb
The Nurse Capulet servant and confidant to Juliet. Acts as messenger between Romeo and Juliet
Lady Capulet Juliet’s mother who is cold and calculating in her desire that Juliet marries Paris
Lord Capulet Juliet’s irritable and irrational father demands she marries Paris
Friar Laurence Marries Romeo and Juliet and concocts the plan to fake Juliet’s death
Friar John Sent to Mantua to tell Romeo of the Friar’s plan. He is quarantined and never arrives
Romeo If you don’t know who this is you’re gonna fail
Juliet If you don’t know who this is you’re gonna fail
Gabe is a poopy meanie bully

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