The comparison Romeo draws between money and poison (lines 98-103) in Romeo and Juliet Act 5 sc I is a) sarcastic b) symbolic c) didactic d) ironic e) prophetic

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mattbuckley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Shakespeare's classic play Romeo and Juliet there are many literary devices being used. To identify which of the above questioned devices: sarcasm, symbolism,  irony, or tone, is being used, you must find out the true nature of the quotation itself. First of all, I would like to discuss tone because it was not actually mentioned as an option but is implied in the options of didactic and prophetic. So you look at the what is being said by Romeo and decide what tone he is using. You will see that it is not prophetic because we never see the apothecary again which would be necessary to prove it as such. It is not didactic either, because he is not trying to instruct the apothecary in the evils of money; therefore, tone is not the issue. To inspect sarcasm as an option you need only to inspect if this is a humorous scene or not. Romeo is buying a poison to kill himself; he is not being sarcastic. So you are left with irony and symbolism. We certainly know things that Romeo does not; however, none of them pertain to this comment. He states that money is "worse poison to men's souls . . . than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell". This quote draws a symbolic parallel between the destructive nature of money and poison.