Personification In Romeo And Juliet

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo meets Juliet at a party. They are instantly attracted to each other, but since their families are feuding enemies they know that their relationship may never be allowed to flourish.

After the party, Romeo trespasses on Capulet land, risking his life to get a glimpse of Juliet at her window. As he approaches, he sees her and launches into one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquys. His purpose is to express his feelings for Juliet and to describe her beauty. He uses several instances of personification to express how beautiful he believes she is.

When he compares Juliet to the sun, he personifies the moon:

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou her maid art far more fair than she.

Romeo is saying that Juliet’s beauty shames the moon, who is jealous of her. As Juliet stands silently in her window, Romeo observes that:

She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

Even though she is not audibly speaking, Romeo can see expression in her eyes and he feels compelled to speak to her.

Then he goes on to describe her eyes in terms of the stars:

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

He personifies the stars as “having some business” with Juliet’s eyes. To compare her eyes to the stars is to say that they are uncommonly beautiful. It is personification because Romeo is saying that the stars are actively deciding to trade places with Juliet’s eyes.

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