Locked in a long-standing feud, one that is fought by the nobles of the two families as well as their servants, they have engaged in a series of bloody public battles. In response, the ruler of Verona, Prince Escalus, is forced to intercede and declare that if any member of either family is caught fighting in the future they will be put to death. Thus the feud is ostensibly put on hold. The Capulets, it turns out, throw a masquerade ball each year.
The play opens with the chorus reciting a poem. Then, in the opening dialogue, Shakespeare spices his writing with puns and double-entendres, as when the servants Sampson and Gregory make veiled sexual references: The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
The heads of the maids? Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt. Mercutio, a brilliant punster and shaper of imagery, uses his way with words to criticize the stupidity of the feuding families and the folly of blind passion.
Sometimes, a single passage he speaks contains a gamut of language devices. Note, for example, the following prose passage, spoken when he sees Romeo approaching. Now is he [Romeo] for the numbers [poems] that Petrarch flowed in: Signior Romeo, bon jour!
Perhaps the most famous oxymoron in the play is the one occurring in the last two words of this line: An oxymoron consists of two contradictory words occurring one after the other.
A paradox consists of contradictory words separated by intervening words.
In the second scene of Act 3, when Juliet criticizes Romeo for killing Tybalt while praising him as her beloved, she manages to squeeze in six oxymorons and four paradoxes: Beautiful tyrant oxymoron, line 80 Fiend angelical oxymoron, line 80 Dove-feather'd raven oxymoron, line 81 Wolvish-ravening lamb oxymoron, line 81 Damned saint oxymoron, line 84 Honourable villain oxymoron, line 84 Despised substance of divinest show paradox, line 83 Spirit of a fiend in moral paradise of such sweet flesh paradox, lines Book containing such vile matter so fairly bound paradox, lines Deceit should dwell in such a gorgeous palace paradox, lines Examples of Other Figures of Speech Alliteration Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of syllables, as indicated by the boldfaced letters below.
Bid a sick man in sadness make his will 1. Therefore, she does not alliterate with stay and siege. These griefs, these woes, these sorrows make me old. Here is an example in which Juliet addresses the night. Come, civil night, Thou sober-suited matron, all in black.
Use of bite and like in a line of poetry constitutes assonance. Like repeats the "i" sound of bite but not the consonant sound "t" that follows the "i.
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing cloud 2. In simpler terms, the audience or reader is aware of a plot development of which a character is unaware. An example of this figure of speech occurs in the fifth scene of Act 3 lines when Juliet pretends to her mother that she hates Romeo for killing Tybalt and that she desires vengeance.
The audience well knows, of course, what Lady Capulet does not: Another example occurs when Romeo sees the body of Juliet at the Capulet tomb site.
He believes she is dead, although he notices that her face is still lifelike. Metaphor A metaphor is a comparison between unlike things.
In making the comparison, it does not use like, as, or than. Note the following examples. Some apostrophes are also personifications. Following are examples of personification from Romeo and Juliet. This comparison is also an example of apostrophe. Shakespeare was particularly adept at creating vivid imagery.
Light and Darkness Perhaps the most memorable imagery in the play centers on figures of speech involving light and darkness. Following are examples of such imagery. There are two paradoxes: 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.
When the sun draws back curtains to reveal dawn, Romeo goes home. Worms' meat, a metaphor referring to his body, means that Mercutio knows he is about to die and that worms will feed on his flesh after he is buried.Introduction.
One of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, Romeo and Juliet is one of two tragedies written between The play is based on a fourteenth-century Italian short story, or novella, yet Shakespeare’s version of the tale is distinctly different than the source text.
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