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Personification is when an animal or object is given human characteristics. So when any non-human thing does something that a human would do, it is being personified. A simple example is "the wind whispered." Whispering is something that a human does, not the wind. The wind has been personified here.
Examples of personification from Act 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:
"Ay me! sad hours seem long." (Being sad is a human characteristic, but it is being attributed to hours here; hours are personified.)
"These happy masks that kiss fair ladies’ brows." (Same thing here, masks are personified.)
"And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes Even now the frozen bosom of the north, And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence." (Humans woo, are angered and puff; wind is personified here.)
Personification is not only demonstrated when an animal is given human characteristics, but also when inanimate objects receive them, too. The following are some examples with explanations of how Shakespeare creates personification. In this first example, Lord Capulet speaks with Paris about when to allow Juliet to marry.
"Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride" (I.ii.10-11).
The main demonstration of personification is when Capulet alludes to the fact that summertime, a season, has pride. Pride is an emotion known only to humans.
Next, Romeo uses personification when he is encouraging Juliet to kiss him.
"My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss" (I.v.92-93).
The above quote shows Romeo comparing his lips to two blushing pilgrims who are ready to kiss her. The lips, therefore, although part of the human body, are given the ability to blush as people do. Also, mentioning pilgrims means that they (his lips) are searching for something sacred, which are again human qualities.
One more example of personification is when Juliet awaits her newly married husband to her chamber. As she thinks about him finding his way to her in the night, she says the following:
"Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron all in black" (III.ii.10-11).
Juliet refers to the night as "civil," which is a human quality. Then, the night is also a "sober-suited matron," or a cautious and careful woman. All of these examples help the reader or audience to apply mental imagery to their other senses or ideas suggested by the author. Readers or audience members gain deeper insight to the movements, feelings, or personalities of the characters towards a deeper understanding through this device.
From the balcony scene:Act I, scene ii
R&J is filled with personification. Hope this helps. Brenda
Personification is when a nonliving thing is given human or living traits.
An example from Romeo and Juliet is in Act 3, Scene 5, Line 9-10
It says, "Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day/Stands tiptoe on the misty mountaintops." Since it can't stand on tiptoe and is a lifelike characteristiic this is personification.
Hope this helps!
"O brawling love! O loving hate!" act 1 scene 1
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