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What is ironic about Romeo's soliloquy in act 5 scene 1?please answer in pointform

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shahadpouls | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 10, 2011 at 7:46 AM via web

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What is ironic about Romeo's soliloquy in act 5 scene 1?

please answer in pointform

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM (Answer #1)

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Romeo's soliloquy is ironic because he is discussing a dream which is very close to reality.  Romeo is talking about his dream where he is dead and Juliet kisses him back to life.  This is very close to the friar's plan for Juliet.  She will pretend to be dead and it will be Romeo who revives her.  Of course, we know that it will not turn out this way.  It is ironic that Romeo would have this dream just as Balthasar is bringing him the news of Juliet's death.  We know that Juliet is not really dead.  She could be revived from death just as Romeo was in his dream.  Romeo and Balthasar do not know she isn't really dead.  This is an example of dramatic irony because we, the audience, know something that they, the characters, do not.

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syeda1997 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted November 10, 2011 at 8:23 AM (Answer #2)

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well the dream kind of relates to friar lawrence's plan which is ironic because the characters dont know what is going to happen in the play.... i hope this helps

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andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted May 14, 2015 at 5:04 PM (Answer #3)

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  • It is ironic that Romeo refers to his "flattering sleep", since this is exactly what Juliet is: in a death-like sleep, which is hardly flattering, for it is this 'sleep' of hers which brings her family great misery and results in his death. Balthasar brings him news about Juliet's death upon which he seeks out an apothecary and buys a deadly poison. He later drinks the potion and commits suicide in the Capulets' burial vault.
  • Romeo surmising about trusting the truth of his sleep is further irony, for Juliet's 'sleep' is just that, but it is a sleep of such depth that she is believed dead. This is reverse irony since it would have been better to doubt Juliet's state of death and attempt to revive her, but everyone believed (including Romeo) that she was truly dead.
  • Further irony lies in the fact that Romeo is in such high spirits and that his dreams:

"presage some joyful news at hand" and that

"My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne"

"Lifts me above the ground with cheerful thoughts."

He is just about to be informed of Juliet's death by Balthasar, news which will drive him to suicide.

  • It is also ironic that he should mention that the dream,

"gives a dead man leave to think", for this is precisely what he would soon be - dead. He is, in fact, predicting his own death.

He further asserts that he was an emperor on his revival - which is not to be.

  • The greatest irony lies in the fact that Romeo dreamt that Juliet found him dead and kissed him back to life, when exactly the opposite happens. Later, when she awakens from her deathly sleep and finds him expired beside her, she takes his dagger and takes her own life.

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