Romeo and Juliet Vocabulary and Literay Terms

adversary opponent; enemy
ambiguity statement or event in which meaning is unclear
banishment exile
boisterous stormy; violent; rowdy
dexterity skill; cleverness
idolatry extreme devotion to a person or thing
lament to grieve for
nuptial wedding
peruse look over
reconcile to become friendly again
shroud a burial cloth
allusion a reference in one work of literature to a person, place, or event in another work of literature or in history, art, or music.Example: the band Veruca Salt is an allusion to the character Veruca Salt in the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
analogy an extended comparison showing the similarities between two things.Example: Juliet’s comparison of a rose and Romeo in her soliloquy.
antagonist the character or force that works against the protagonist; introduces the conflict.Example: Tybalt is an antagonist to Romeo, since he is constantly trying to start fights with him and eventually gets him into one.
aside words spoken by a character in a play, usually in an undertone and not intended.Example: Juliet: Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.Romeo (Aside) : Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?Juliet: ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy. Thou art thyself, though not a Montague…”
blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameterExample: But soft! What light through yon-der win-dow breaks?It is the East and Ju-liet is the sun!A-rise fair sun and kill the en-vious moon,Who is al-rea-dy sick and pale with griefThat though her maid art far more fair than she
characterization the personality a character displays; also, the means by which the author reveals that personalityExample: Love is her passion – She’s very foolish thinking she loves after a day, at first sight. This turns her much less obedient in which she’s being called and stalls for minutes at a time, and refuses to marry Paris.
climax the point of greatest emotional intensity, interest, or suspense in a narrativeExample: After Romeo kills Tybalt and says “O! I am Fortune’s Fool!” when he realizes he has just murdered his wife’s cousin.
conflict a struggle (between opposing forces or characters)Example: Tybalt killing Mercutio.
couplet two consecutive lines of poetry that rhymeExample: My only love, sprung from my only hate!Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
diction a writer’s choice of words for clarity, effectiveness, and precision.Example: “It is all about us and no-one else,” Romeo tells Juliet….
dramatic irony a contrast between what the audience perceives and what a character does not knowExample: Juliet drinks the potion that will make her appear as if she was dead for 24 hours. it just made her appear dead, but when romeo went into the tomb, he thought that she WAS dead. he then drank real poison, and during all this the audience is falling off their seats because in just a few short minutes Juliet would have woken up and romeo would not be dead.
dramatic structure the structure of a playExample: The play is built around three fights: one in act 1, one in act 3 and one in act 5 which provide a recurring theme around which the drama evolves.
epithet a description adjective or phrase used to characterize someone or something (Peter The Great).Example: Romeo! Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover!
figurative language language that is not intended to be interpreted in a literal sense. Example:allusions – referring to Cupid’s arrow and also the Aurora and Dianmetaphor – Juliet compares romeo to nightmetaphor – Romeo compares Juliet to the sun
foil a character who sets off another character by contrastExample: Mercutio, the witty skeptic, is a foil for Romeo, the young Petrarchan lover. Mercutio mocks Romeo’s vision of love and the poetic devices he uses to express his emotions:Romeo, Humors! Madman! Passion! Lover!Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh,Speak but one rhyme and I am satisfied.
foreshadowing the use of hints or clues in a narrative to suggest what action is to comeExample: I have night’s cloak to hide me from their sight;And but thou love me, let them find me here:My life were better ended by their hate,Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.
iambic meter unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllableExample: å gain
iambic pentameter five verse feet with each foot an iamb (total of 10 syllables)Example: “Two households, both alike in dignity,In fair Verona, where we lay our scene.”
imagery language that appeals to any sense (sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell) or any combination of the senses.Example: Friar Laurence appears with a basket and sets the scene: “The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night, / Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, / And fleckled [dappled] darkness like a drunkard reels / From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels”
irony difference between what appears to be true and what really is; an event or outcome which is unexpected or surprising to the reader and logically would not have occurredExample: Verbal irony. The words literally state the opposite of the writer’s (or speaker’s) true meaning. For example, the Prologue in Act I opens with “Two households, both alike in dignity, . . .” When you first read this, you may think that the two families are pretty dignified or honorable. As the play goes on, however, you realize that each family is violently competitive. They are similarly undignified.Situational irony. Events turn out the opposite of what was expected. What the characters and audience think ought to happen isn’t what eventually happens. In Shakespeare’s play, the young lovers do end up spending eternity together, but not in the way the audience had hoped.Dramatic irony (sometimes called tragic irony). Facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or story but known to you or other characters in the work. For example, the audience knows that Juliet took a sleeping potion and isn’t really dead. Romeo’s suicide affects the audience even more because of this knowledge.
metaphor comparison between two unlike things with the intent of giving added meaning to one of themExample: “She doth teach the torches to burn bright”. This tells us that Juliet’s beauty is much brighter than that of the torches – so she is very beautiful.
motivation A reason that explains or partially explains why a character thinks, feels, acts, or behaves in a certain wayExample: Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence and threatens to commit suicide because she does not want to commit bigamy. That’s her motivation for threatening to kill herself.
protagonist the main character in the play or story.Example: Romeo and Juliet
pun humorus use of a word or phrase to suggests to or more meanings at the same time.Example: Romeo “The game was ne’er so fair, and I am done.” Mercutio: “Tut!”

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