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's profile pic

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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. 


mwestwood's profile pic

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The stage device that is used in Act II, Scene 3, is soliloquy. This device is extremely useful to the dramatist as it affords him the opportunity to convey a character's most intimate thoughts and feelings directly to the audience. In this scene, Friar Laurence is introduced through this private speech in which he reveals his thorough knowledge of herbs, a knowledge that foreshadows his plan of giving Juliet a sleeping potion later in Act IV.

Soliloquy is also a device in which the dramatist can exhibit his imaginative and poetic talents. For instance, this soliloquy is written by Shakespeare in rhyming couplets. Also, the motif of light/dark that dominates the play is clearly in play with the imagery of the first six lines: 

The grey-eyed morn similes on the frowning night,
Check'ring the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels [the sun]:

Further, soliloquy provides a great opportunity for the dramatist to expound upon his own philosophies while expressing themes and observations on other characters.


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