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Shakespearean Drama. What literary techniques will we find in Romeo and Juliet?. Characteristics of a Shakespearean Tragedy. A tragedy is a drama that ends in catastrophe – most often death – for the main characters.

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shakespearean drama

Shakespearean Drama

What literary techniques will we find in Romeo and Juliet?

characteristics of a shakespearean tragedy
Characteristics of a Shakespearean Tragedy
  • A tragedy is a drama that ends in catastrophe – most often death – for the main characters.
  • However, Shakespearean tragedies often include comicmoments that counter the overall atmosphere of seriousness and despair.
the language of shakespeare
The Language of Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare’s plays are primarily written in blank verse, the form of poetry that most resembles natural speech.
  • It’s made up of unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, a type of meter that has five unstressed syllables each followed by a stressed syllable.

EX: But soft? What light through yonder window breaks?

It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!

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While this pattern is the general rule, it is often broken. Variations in the rhythm prevent the play from sounding monotonous, and help to emphasize important ideas or dramatic moments.

allusion and word play
Allusion and Word Play
  • An allusion is a reference within a work to something that the audience is expected to know. Oftentimes, in Romeo and Juliet, we will see references to Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the Bible.
  • Shakespeare was also a master of clever puns, or jokes that result from multiple word meanings or rhyming sounds.
it sounds like a story ripped from the headlines
It Sounds Like a Story Ripped From The Headlines
  • Perhaps one reason Romeo and Juliet embodies the consummate love story is that it holds themes about life and human nature still relevant today.
    • Two teenagers fall in love at a party.
    • They realize that their parents hate each other.
    • Their relationship is forbidden, so they cling to one another more tightly.
    • Murder and suffering ensue, and by the end, the entire town is in mourning.
timeline of events
Timeline of Events
  • Romeo and Juliet is extraordinarily fast-paced, as the entire story takes place in only six days. Use the calendar provided in your notes to keep track of the order of important plot elements.