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What are some similes and metaphors in Act 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?  

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bethechangeyo... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 30, 2011 at 10:29 AM via web

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What are some similes and metaphors in Act 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

 

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tamarakh | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 16, 2013 at 4:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Both similes and metaphors are types of analogies. An analogy is a comparison between two things to show their similarities or relationship. Similes are the easiest type of analogies to spot because they are all made using the adverbs like or as. Dr. Wheeler gives us an example from Robert Burns, "O, my love is like the a red, red rose" ("Literary Terms and Definitions: S"). In this line, Burns is very obviously comparing his love to a rose using the adverb is. Therefore, to quickly find a simile, all you have to do is skim through the passages in question until you find the words like or as; more often than not, but not always, you have also found a simile.

Metaphors, on the other hand, are analogies that figuratively state something is something else; it's no longer like something else; instead, it is that something else. Dr. Wheeler gives us an example from Martin Luther stating, "A mighty fortress is our God." Here, Luther is likening God to a fortress by saying that God is a fortress. Metaphors can be harder to spot, but one easy way is to skim through the passage in question until you find the verb is. The verb is is commonly used, but there is a chance that there is a metaphor surrounding the verb. Below are a couple of ideas to help get you started.

Metaphors can be seen in the first few lines of Romeo's opening soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 2. Two metaphors can be found in the lines, "What light through yonder window breaks? / It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!" (II.ii.2-3). The first metaphor, "It is the East," compares the lighted window to the east, the direction in which the sun rises. The second metaphor, "Juliet is the sun," compares Juliet to the sun, which is to say that her beauty is so radiant that it is as if she glows like the sun. Many other metaphors, including an extended metaphor, can also be found in this one soliloquy.

A simile can likewise be found in this same scene when Juliet tells him she feels it is far too sudden and rash for them to exchange vows of love that night. She compares the rashness and suddenness of exchanging vows to lightening that quickly lights up the sky and just as suddenly vanishes, as we see in her lines:

It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say "It lightens." (124-26)

Since this analogy comparing rashness to lightning uses the word like, we know that this is a perfect example of a simile.

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