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William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Literary Devices. Figurative Language. S peech or writing that departs from literal meaning in order to achieve a special effect or meaning Employs figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, personification and hyperbole

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figurative language
Figurative Language
  • Speech or writing that departs from literal meaning in order to achieve a special effect or meaning
  • Employs figures of speech such as

similes, metaphors, personification

and hyperbole

  • All language intended to not be

taken literally

  • Definition: To assign human qualities to something that isn’t human.
  • Example: “I’ll say yon

gray is not the morning’s

eye.” (III.v.19)

  • .”
  • Definition: Comparison between two unlike things
  • Example:Whiter than new

snow upon a raven’s back.”


  • Definition: Comparison of two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”
  • Example: “And to’ t they

go likelightning”


  • Definition: an extended

comparison showing the

similarities between two things.

  • Example: Juliet’s comparison

of Romeo and a rose in her


  • Definition: An indirect reference to another person, place, or event in literature, history, art, or music.
  • Example: “Tis but the pale

reflex of Cynthia’sbrow.”


  • Explanation: Cynthia was

a name for the moon.

  • A long uninterrupted speech given by one

character to other characters.

  • Examples:

ROMEO: But soft! What light through

yonder window breaks? It is the East and

Juliet is the sun…


JULIET: Shall I speak ill of him that is my


  • A speech in which a character is

alone on stage and expresses thoughts

out loud

  • Examples:

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright… (Romeo, Act I, Scene 1)

What light through yonder window breaks?... (Romeo Act 2 Scene 2)

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse... (Juliet Act 2 Scene 5)

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds… (Juliet Act 3, Scene 2)

How oft when men are at the point of death (Romeo Act 5 Scene 3)

  • Words spoken by a character in a play usually in an undertone and not intended

to be heard by all.

  • Definition: A descriptive adjective or phrase used to characterize someone or something.
  • Example: “Romeo! Humors!

Madman! Passion! Lover!


meter iambic pentameter
Meter -Iambic Pentameter
  • Definition of meter: The pattern of syllables in a poem.
  • Notes: Iambic Pentameter is one form of meter.
  • Aniamb’s emphasis is unstressed, stressed
  • Pentameter (Penta = 5) refers to the fact that there are five feet, or sets of syllables (stressed/unstressed) in the line. That makes ten syllables in total.
example of iambic pentameter
Example of Iambic Pentameter
  • Example: “Twohouse- (1)

holds both (2)

a-like (3)

in dig- (4)

ni-ty” (5)

  • Two (like a couple) consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme.
  • Example:

Alas, that love, whose view is

muffled still,

Should, without eyes,

see pathways to his will!

repetition alliteration
  • Definition: Repetition- The repeating

of a word, phrase, stanza form, or effect

in any form of literature.

  • Example: “Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore

art thou, Romeo?”


  • Type of Repetition - Alliteration is the repetition of a particular sound in the beginning syllables in a series of words or phrases.
  • Example:

Juliet: “I’ll look to like if

looking liking move…”



Definition: A word

answering in sound to another word.

  • Example: “Would through

the airy region stream so bright/That birds would sing and think it were not night.” (II.ii.21-22)

  • Definition: A conversation between two

or more people

  • Example:

Lady Capulet: “Speak briefly, can you like

of Paris’s love?”

Juliet: “I’ll look to like if looking

liking move…”(I, iii, 11-12)

  • Definition: The use of clues or hints

to suggest what action is to come.

  • Example:

Romeo: “By some vile forfeit of the

untimely death…”


dramatic irony
Dramatic irony
  • A contrast between what the audience perceives and what a character does not know
  • Example: In this scene,

the audience knows that Juliet

is still alive but Romeo

doesn’t know that.

  • Definition: Language that appeals to any sense (sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell) or any combination of these.
  • Example: “Many a morning hath he there be seen, with tears augmenting the fresh morning’sdew.”


  • Definition: A figure of speech that combines apparently contradictory (opposite) terms
  • Examples: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

“Oh loving hate”


A character who sets off another character by


Examples: Mercutio, the witty skeptic, is a foil for

Romeo, the young lover. Mercutiomocks

Romeo’s vision of love and the poetic devices

he uses to express his emotions

  • Definition: The personality a character displays and the way

the author reveals it.

  • Example: “Star crossed lovers” and “Enough of this, I pray thee hold thy peace.” –Lady Capulet, (I.iii.4)
  • The humorous use of a word or phrase to

suggest two or more meanings at the same time.

tragic hero
Tragic Hero
  • Romeo is an extremely impulsive individual and makes decisions without considering the consequences. His mistakes bring about several complications that eventually lead to his untimely death and that of Juliet.
  • Romeo's flaw is impetuousness.  He acts without thinking about the consequences to his actions.  He must have what he wantsimmediately, instead of stepping back and looking at the choices he has before him.
  • Juliet also emerges as having this flaw of impetuousness.  She is quick to act in an "all or nothing" manner.