What are some literary devices being used in Act 3, Scene 4 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Scene IV in Act III, is actually a good example of a scene that is very heavily written in prose. As a result, we don't see Shakespeare using too many literary devices to enhance this scene, but there are a couple, especially rhetorical literary devices, such as antithesis and assonance.

A parallel structure known as antithesis can be seen in Paris's line, "These times of woe afford no tune to woo" (8). Antithesis is used to express opposing ideas in one balanced sentence (Wheeler, "Schemes"). Since "woe," or sorrow is the exact opposite of "wooing," or courtship, this line portrays an antithetical argument through parallel sentence structure.

Antithesis can also be seen in Capulet's lines, "I think she will be rul'd in all respects by me; nay more, I doubt it not" (13-14). A real contrast can be seen between the phrase "I think" and "I doubt it not." Not having any doubts is the exact antithesis of only thinking, or believing, something to be true, hence, these lines are another example of antithetical parallelism.

Assonance can also be seen in Capulet's lines, "We'll keep no great ado--a friend or two; / For hark you..." (24-25). Assonance can be seen in the repetition of the vowel sound "o" in the words "no," "ado," "two," and then again in "you." Assonance can further be seen in the phrases, "half a dozen friends, / And there an end," with the repetition of the vowel "e" sound followed by the "n" sound.

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