Romeo and Juliet Literary Terms Setting setting: a storys time, place, and background Romeo and Juliet probably takes place around 1200 or 1300 A.D., when Italian families were feuding. Figurative Language
Figures of Speech: Specific tools writers use to paint "word pictures. Example: Juliet uses the sea as a simile to help Romeo understand how much she loves him: My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite." (2.2.133136) Inference
Inference: To reason from circumstance; surmise Example: It appears that the Friar sees men and women in their traditional perspectives. One place in the text particularly lead me to believe this. In Act II, scene iii, the Friar notes about Romeo: Young men's love then lies Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
Foreshadowing foreshadowing: events which hint of things to come Example: In the Prologue to Act 1, the Chorus foreshadows what will happen in the play. One thing that will happen is that a feud will be renewed violently, as civil blood makes civil hands unclean (4).
Sir Isaac Newton about to invent gravity. Oxymoron oxymoron: bringing together two contradictory terms 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 allusion: reference to historical or literary figure, event, or object Example: In Act 1, Scene 1, line 217, Romeo says that Rosaline hath Dians 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. Imagery imagery: representation in words of a vivid sensory experience Example: In Act 1, Scene 5, lines 55 and 56, Romeo uses imagery to describe Juliets beauty when he says, So shows a dove trooping with crows / As yonder lady oer her fellows shows.
Metaphor metaphor: an implied comparison between two unlike things, without like or as. 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 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. Pun Pun/Homonym: "Use words that sound alike but have different meanings to create
humor." Example: Mercutio's in Act III, when he realizes he has been fatally wounded: ...ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man. Grave meaning "serious", but in this case, dead. Aside aside: words spoken by an actor supposedly heard only by the audience
Example: Romeo uses asides as he is listening to Juliets 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 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 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 ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, consume. Protagonist protagonist: the main character in a piece of literature Example: In this play, Romeo is one protagonist.
Antagonist antagonist: the person or force opposing the main character Example: Tybalt is one antagonist in the play, because he opposes Romeo, who is a protagonist. Theme theme: the main idea of a piece of literature
Example: One theme of Romeo and Juliet might be that haste makes waste. In other words, hurrying too much often leads to problems. Personification Personification: When a non-human is given human characteristics Example: Romeo says: "Arise, fair sun and kill the envious moon"
Dramatic Irony dramatic irony, a situation where the reader knows more than the characters do Lady Capulet's misunderstanding of Juliet's feelings is ironic. She believes Juliet is "evermore weeping for [her] cousin's death," when she sees her sorrow. The reader knows shes weeping for Romeo.
Sonnet William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. A sonnet, a form of poetry invented in Italy, has 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme. The topic of most sonnets written in Shakespeare's time is loveor a theme related to love. Rhyme Scheme In Shakespeares sonnets, the rhyme scheme
is as follows: ............First stanza (quatrain): ABAB ............Second stanza (quatrain): CDCD ............Third stanza (quatrain): EFEF ............Couplet: GG. Iambic Pentameter iambic pentameter, with stresses regularly punctuating every other syllable. A line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM ~ / ~ /
~ / ~ / ~
/ But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? Rhyming Couplets When two rhyming lines are found together, this is called a rhyming couplet. Found in the last two lines of a sonnet. Used to emphasize a point.
Dramatic Foil Dramatic Foil: a pair of opposite characters. Example: Romeo is the ultimate "head in the clouds" lover. He broods over Rosaline, then he completely loses it over Juliet. He is the incurable romantic. Benvolio is the voice of reason. He's the one who tries to remind Romeo that there are other fish in the sea when Romeo is depressed over Rosaline.
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