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In Act 5 of Romeo and Juliet, what are some literary elements like metaphors and similes?

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katiejov | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 15, 2011 at 1:41 AM via web

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In Act 5 of Romeo and Juliet, what are some literary elements like metaphors and similes?

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sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 15, 2011 at 5:53 AM (Answer #1)

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There are quite a few examples of metaphors and similes in Act 5; for example, a simile from Scene 1 is "...that the trunk may be discharged of breath/As violently as hasty powder fired/Doth hurry from the fatal cannon's womb"--this is where Romeo is buying poison from the apothecary, asking him to be able to die as quickly as the powder shot from a cannon.

In Scene 3, Paris enters Juliet's tomb and calls her a "sweet flower", which would be a metaphor, comparing Juliet to a flower, and without using the words "like" or "as".

There are also examples of puns, personification, onomatopoeia, etc. in Act 5 as well.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 29, 2014 at 6:56 AM (Answer #2)

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Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is arguably his most poetic drama as abundant light/dark imagery and figurative language enhance each act.

  • In Act V, the first scene opens with two metaphors: "the flattering truth of sleep" [a metaphor for happy dreams that seem real] in line 1, and "My bosom's lord" [a metaphor for heart] in line 3. Also, "love's shadow" [a metaphor for dreams of love] in line 11.
  • When Bathasar, Romeo's man, reports that Juliet lies in "Capels' monument," Romeo is struck by this fatal news. He shouts to the sky, calling upon fate, using the literary device of apostrophe, "Then I defy you, stars!" (5.1.24)
  • Another example of apostrophe follows shortly afterwards as Romeo addresses fate again, "O mischief, thou art swift (5.1.37)
  • Later, Romeo goes to an apothecary who appears penurious; Romeo tells the man, "Famine is in thy cheeks," using personification of "Famine." (5.2.66)
  • An example of oxymoron occurs soon thereafter in the next scene as Friar Laurence exclaims, "Unhappy fortune!" (5.2.18) Another oxymoron occurs with his calling Juliet, "Poor living corpse" (5.2.30)
  • After Paris enters the tomb of Juliet in order to place flowers, he hears someone approach and uses synecdoche ["foot" for the entire person] : "What cursed foot wanders this way tonight?"
  • In Scene 3, Romeo speaks with a metaphor of descending into "this bed of death" (5.3.33)
  • Later, he uses personification in the phrase "hungry churchyard" (5.3.40)
  • Then, there is alliteration: "I'll hide me hereabout" with the /h/ (5.3.49)
  • "His looks I fear, and his intents I doubt"( is an example of parallelism. (5.3.50)
  • Death is given personification as an "abhorred monster" that "keeps/Thee here in dark to be his paramour." (5.3.113)
  • A metaphor is used, "death’s pale flag" (5.3.105) 
  • Later, a simile is employed, ...This sight of death is as a bell/That warns my old age to a sepulcher." Here the sight (of death) is compared to a bell, ringing in warning. (5.3.206)
  • In addressing the Capulets and the Montagues, Prince Escalus employs oxymoron and personification as he addresses them, "That Heaven finds means to kill your joys with love." (5.3.310)


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