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Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something that a character doesn't know....

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bergcar | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 26, 2012 at 8:23 AM via web

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Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something that a character doesn't know. What moments of dramatic irony occur in this act?

 We hear the friar's motive and the prologue told us how the play will end.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:13 AM (Answer #1)

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There is dramatic irony in Romeo’s lengthy soliloquy as he extols the virtues and beauty of Juliet at the beginning of Act II scene ii

 … Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief

We have seen Romeo similarly besotted earlier in the play, when he was in love with Rosaline. Rosaline, however, was compared to the moon and the night, whereas his new love is the sun. This comparison with heavenly bodies shows us how fleeting Romeo’s affections are, and how quickly the light of Juliet will be extinguished by the darkness of the Montague/Capulet feud.

When the friar muses on the properties of his herbs in Act II scene iii, he talks of how they can be good or bad, depending on their application. This of course foreshadows Romeo being convinced that Juliet is dead when she is under the influence of the sleeping draught, and also his death by poison as he lies beside her.

 But to the earth some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometime's by action dignified.

As Juliet awaits news from the Nurse in Act II scene v, she wishes for time to go fast, little realising that by doing so she is hastening her death-

Love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams
Driving back shadows over low'ring hills.
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw Love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.

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