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How does Shakespeare show anger throughout the play Romeo and Juliet?

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katiek123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM via web

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How does Shakespeare show anger throughout the play Romeo and Juliet?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM (Answer #1)

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Very frequently, Shakespeare uses figurative language throughout Romeo and Juliet to show the characters' anger. There are a few great examples of figurative language being used to express anger in the Prince's speech in the very first scene.

The first example is seen when the Prince uses the metaphor, "[p]rofaners of this neighbour-stained steel," to refer to the Montague and Capulet families (I.i.78-79). The word steel in this line metaphorically refers to the blades of their swords while "neighbour-stained steel" metaphorically describes their swords as being stained by their neighbors, or more literally, stained by the blood of their neighbors. Therefore, in this line, the Prince is using this metaphor to accuse the family members of violating their swords by staining them with their neighbors' blood.

The Prince uses a second metaphor when he next calls the family members "beasts" (79). In the Prince's eyes, and rightly so, these men are no longer acting like men who are thinking, feeling, rational beings; instead, they are acting like "beasts," or animals, who make decisions based on their instincts.

A third, extended metaphor can be seen in his lines:

What, ho! you men ...
That quench the fire of your pernicious rage
With purple fountains issuing from your veins! (79-81)

Here, he refers to their "pernicious rage, " or wicked rage, as a fire that is being put out by their neighbor's blood, or "purple fountains issuing from [their] veins."  

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