In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, can you please provide some of the literary devices in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech?  These devices could include things like metaphor, simile, pun,...

In Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, can you please provide some of the literary devices in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech?

 

These devices could include things like metaphor, simile, pun, assonance, alliteration, hyperbole, oxymoron, personification, etc.

Asked on by lguinto

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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I cannot note all the literary devices in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (in Act One, scene four). We can't complete assignments but we can offer help so that you can better understand your assignment. However, here are some examples to get you started.

Alliteration is the repetition of a similar sound found at the beginning of words generally placed close together in poetry.

Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love... (76)

The alliteration here is the repetition of the "th" sound in the words "Through," "then" and "they."

Repetition is used for effect, sometimes to emphasize something if the repetition uses the same word. However, repetition can also be found in the repeated use of a phrase or the similar structure of several lines. In this case, Shakespeare (through Mercutio) repeats the phrases "is made" or "are made" so that we catch the nuances of a "list" being read off: the details of all of the many aspects of Queen Mab's retinue:

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;

Her traces, of the smallest spider's web;

Her collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams;

Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film... (65-68)

Personification is used when something that is non-human is given human characteristics:

Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat (69)

A gnat (small bug) cannot drive a wagon (or carriage, etc.) We see it again in line 71:

Taken from the lazy finger of a maid. (71)

A finger cannot be lazy, though the maid can be. Giving the finger a characteristic of laziness is personification.

This same line is also an example of metonomy. This device concentrates on an aspect of something larger, to describe the the larger thing—or the "whole." For example, if you say you could eat a plate of brownies, you aren't speaking of eating the plate, but the brownies! Another example is found in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. There is a pair of lines that describe an aspect of crabs on the ocean floor. Only the aspect of the crabs ("claws") is mentioned, but the reader still knows that the speaker is referring to crabs:

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. (73-74)

In the Queen Mab speech, the lazy finger represents the laziness of the maid, but refers to the laziness of the finger to convey this information.

These are just a few examples of the literary devices used.

Sources:

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