Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 3, most of the friar's speech features what literary or stage device?

In Romeo and Juliet, act 2, scene 3, the friar's speech uses a stage device known as a soliloquy, where a character speaks their thoughts aloud, regardless of the presence of the audience or other characters. The friar's speech also employs a metaphor, as he compares the nature of plants to the nature of humans, who have the capacity to do both good and evil, to harm and heal.

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,037 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The stage device in use as act 2, scene 3 opens is a soliloquy by Friar Lawrence. In a soliloquy, a character states aloud their inner thoughts: it is as if we are hearing what they are thinking.
As he gathers the herbs, flowers, and plants from his garden, the friar ponders the mix of curative powers and poison in them. For instance, he notes that one plant "cheers" a person if it is smelled but if eaten, it is poisonous:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, stays all senses with the heart.
He then ponders that human beings are also such a mix of good and evil:
Two such opposèd kings encamp them still,
In man as well as herbs—grace and rude will.
And the friar ominously ends with the thought that when evil is the greater part of a plant (or human) that trait becomes a cancer that kills:
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.
Romeo comes in and overhears what the friar is saying, but is so preoccupied that it seems not...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 982 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Olen Bruce eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,269 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences




Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial