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What is an example of indirect and direct characterization in "Romeo and...

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smiles4u93 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:36 AM via web

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What is an example of indirect and direct characterization in "Romeo and Juliet"?

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:39 PM (Answer #1)

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An example of indirect characterization comes from Act 1, scene 5.  In this scene, Romeo has seen Juliet for the first time and is commenting on her beauty.  Romeo says, "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! / It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night / Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear; / Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!" (Act I, sc. v)

Whereas there are many examples of indirect characterization in this play, there are far less examples of direct characterization and are sometimes difficult to locate because of the language of Shakespeare.  The example of direct characterization occurs in Act 2 , scene 4, when Romeo is discussing Mercutio's love of himself with the Nurse.  In this examples, Romeo says, "A gentleman, nurse, that loves to hear himself talk, / and will speak more in a minute than he will stand / to in a month." (Act II, sc. iv)

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brotherdown | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 2, 2008 at 1:18 AM (Answer #2)

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The difficulty with identifying any direct characterization in any play is due to the absence of a narratorial voice (unless the work provides a narrator). Generally all drama is mediated through characters, so, given this "charactered" mediation, all characterization will be indirect, or "shown" through the actions or words of the character or through the character's effect(s) on other characters, if I'm not mistaken. Perhaps the only direct characterization you might find in R&J would be in the stage direction . . . but I don't have a copy with me. You will, however, find ample examples of direct characterization in a novel or short story. Hope this helps. Cheers!

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