I need to know all the literary devices in this section from Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3. O my love! my wife! [...] And that the lean abhorred monster keeps Thee here in dark to be his...

I need to know all the literary devices in this section from Romeo and Juliet Act 5, Scene 3.

O my love! my wife! [...] And that the lean abhorred monster keeps Thee here in dark to be his paramour?

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shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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One literary device at use in this passage is a type of metaphor called personification. Romeo has found Juliet, supposedly dead, in the tomb. He wonders why she still looks so beautiful and speaks to death about it. In personification, a nonhuman entity is given human attributes. Shakespeare accomplishes this in the following lines:

  1. Death, that hath suck’d the honey of thy breath.
  2. And death’s pale flag is not advanced.
  3. Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous.
  4. And that the lean abhorred monster keeps thee here in dark to be his paramour?

Shakespeare employs personification here to dramatize the effect of Juliet’s supposed death on him. It gives death the power to make decisions and take action.

Since we know that Juliet is not actually dead, Shakespeare is also employing the literary device of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony is created when the audience knows something that the characters don’t. In this case, we watch as Romeo suffers with the belief that Juliet is dead, knowing that he doesn’t realize that this is part of her plan to escape with him.

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durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Romeo and Juliet is the sad and often repeated story of the "star-crossed lovers" (Prologue to Act I, line 6) whose love, the audience knows from the outset, will prove "fatal." Only after their deaths will the Capulet and Montague families end their "strife." By this point in Act V, scene iii, it seems that no matter how noble Romeo attempts to be, he is forced to fight, this time with Paris.  

Literary devices are poetic in nature and are intended to give text extra meaning, creating visual pictures which often relay a specific message or add emphasis without being literal. Examples of the literary devices used are given above and additionally, in lines 90 to 105, Romeo compares Juliet's "breath" to honey, which is an example of metaphor intended to emphasize Juliet's sweetness.

When he says "thou art not conquered," he is suggesting that she is like a battle that has not yet been won as her features are still beautiful and her body is still warm. He extends this particular metaphor when he says "Death's pale flag is not advanced there" (a battle reference).

Romeo also poses questions to a deceased Tybalt and is not expecting an answer, making them rhetorical questions. His questions to Juliet are also rhetorical as she is presumed dead. 

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