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In Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 3, most of the Friar's speech features what literary...

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honeypie | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 23, 2012 at 3:29 AM via web

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In Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 3, most of the Friar's speech features what literary or stage device?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM (Answer #1)

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There are a number of literary devices in the Friar's speech in 2.3. 

Shakespeare begins by using a anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism gives human qualities most frequently to inanimate objects or animals but also to natural phenomena. Here, we see the dawn and night given human characteristics: "The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night." Now, obviously the dawn cannot really smile nor can the night frown. 

The next device is a simile. Here, the darkness reacts to the infringing light, and stumbles about "like a drunkard reels." Similes compare to things using "like" or "as" as a connection.

Immediately following the simile is the use of allusion. Allusion reference things outside the story, either real OR fictional. Here, the friar speaks about "Titan's fiery wheels." Titan was the Greek sun god who drove a chariot of fire.

Also included in this passage is an oxymoron. An oxymoron compares, side-by-side, two seemingly contradictory things. Here, we see the earth being identified as both womb and grave. 

What is her burying grave that is her womb, 
 And from her womb children of divers kind 

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, womb to tomb. The earth literally gives and disposes of life. 



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