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What are some literary devices used in Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 3?Please include...

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kelseylynn3897 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 7, 2012 at 8:55 PM via web

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What are some literary devices used in Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 3?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, written in poetic verse, is replete with figurative language and literary devices.  In Act III, Scene 3, there are several literary devices at work:

Personification

Friar Laurence's opening words to Romeo give "Affliction" and "calamity" the qualities of a person as "Affliction" is in love and Romeo is married to "calamity":

Affliction is enamour’d of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity. (ll.3-4)

And Romeo replies with personification:

What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand (l.5)

For exile hath more terror in his look. (l.14)

Later, the friar speaks of

Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy (l.56)

Happiness courts thee in her best array (l. 148)

Figurative Language

Romeo speaks figuratively when he replies to Friar Laurence,

Calling death ‘banishment,’
Thou cut'st my head off with a golden axe
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me. (ll23-25)

Alliteration

In lines 10 and 12, the repetition of the initial consonant sounds of /d/ and /b/ are utilized:

What less than doomsday is the Prince's doom?

Not body's death, but body's banishment.

Then, in line 37, there is more alliteration as the /w/ is repeated

On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand

And, in line 45, the /h/ is repeated:

Howling attends it.  How hast thou the heart

Hyperbole

Romeo's reaction to being informed that he is banished from Verona is expressed by him in exaggerated terms:

There is no world without Verona walls (l.18)

Metaphor

As Romeo speaks with the friar, Friar Laurence tells Romeo, using armor to mean courage, and comparing Romeo to a madman.

I'll give thee armor to keep off that word (l.55)

O, then I see that madmen have no ears. (l. 62)

The childhood of our joy (l.99)

The hateful mansion (l.113) 

[Romeo calls this part of his body where his name "lodges."]

Apostrophe

Friar Laurence reacts to Romeo's agitated state, addressing sin and ungratefulness,

Oh, deadly sin! Oh, rude unthankfulness! (l. 25)

Foreshadowing

Romeo uses the word grave, which foreshadows his death,

Taking the measure of an unmarked grave. (l.71)

Parallelism

Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering (l.91)

Simile

But, like a misbhav'd and sullen wench,
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love.(ll.149-150)

Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit,
Which, like a usurer, abound'st in all, (ll128-129)

Calling death ‘banishment,’
Thou cut'st my head off with a golden axe
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me. (137-139)

Sources:

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