In Romeo and Juliet's act 5, what metaphor does Romeo use for the tomb?

Asked on by yunjeong

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Here are Romeo's words that illustrate the metaphor to which you refer:

Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
And, in despite, I'll cram thee with more food!

A maw is a mouth. Romeo furthers the metaphor by using the words gorged, morsel, jaws, and food. Each of these words not only has to do with the tomb being a mouth, but the door a vessel that leads to eternal consumption. This is what a mouth does. The morsel he refers to is Juliet, and the more food that he wants to cram it with is himself.

An additional metaphor is comparing the tomb to a womb. A womb is the place of a woman's body that is pregnant with new life, so I think he is trying to illustrate how much life Juliet was to him.


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