In the quote below from "Romeo and Juliet," what literary devices are used, symbolism, metaphors, personification?“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet...

In the quote below from "Romeo and Juliet," what literary devices are used, symbolism, metaphors, personification?

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon“

Asked on by fushi

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ajonu79 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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This is one of the most well-known quotes in all of Romeo and Juliet.  In this quote you can find all three of the literary devices mentioned: symbolism, metaphors, and personification.  To understand which devices are used, you need to first understand the meaning of each literary device.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that constructs an analogy between two things or ideas; it is a comparison made without using the words, like or as

Personification is a type of metaphor in which a thing or abstraction is represented as a person.

A symbol, as it relates to literature, is an object, picture, written word, sound or particular mark that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention. 

Metaphor: In the famous quote above, Shakespeare writes, "Juliet is the sun."  Juliet is being compared to the sun here without using the words like or as, so that is a metaphor.

Personification: When Shakespeare writes, "Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon," he is using personification.  The sun cannot actually perform the act of killing.  This phrase gives the sun human characteristics.

Symbolism: Throughout the play, images of light and dark are used many times; the light symbolizes love, beauty, all that is good.  The darkness represents depression, death, all that is bad or evil.  In this quote, Shakespeare uses the symbol of light to represent beauty and love; in this case Juliet.   

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