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In Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Juliet employs metaphors when she speaks of Romeo. In Act III, Scene 2, she rebukes him after learning of the death of Tybalt by Romeo's sword, alluding to him as a "serpent-heart with a flowering face" and also as a "book containing such vile matter/So fairly bound," concluding,
Oh, that deceit should dwell
In such a gorgeous palace! (3.2)
As it is arguably the most poetic of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet is replete with imagery, lyricism, metaphors, similes, personification, and other figures of speech. When, for instance, Romeo first sees Juliet, his response is beautifully poetic:
Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop ear-- (1.5)
Then, when Romeo and Juliet first speak to each other, they each recite seven lines of a sonnet in which they are metaphoric pilgrims and their hands "shrines." Later, during the balcony scene of Act II, Scene 1, Romeo and Juliet exchange their pledges of love and agree to marry each other in the "morrow." However, after Juliet goes back inside, she wishes that she could call Romeo with a disguised "falconer's voice" to lure "this tassel-gentle"--an implied metaphor for Romeo, comparing him to a male falcon--because she must not let her family hear her beckon him.
It is not until Juliet learns that her beloved cousin has been slain by Romeo, who is now her husband, that her metaphors for him become derogatory. Upon hearing the tragic news of Tybalt's death, her first reaction is one of repudiation of Romeo and her metaphors for him change from living things to objects. Thus, in Act III, Scene 2 when Nurse informs her of the tragic news, Juliet calls Romeo a "serpent heart" that is hidden with a "flowering face," and a "dragon" who has kept "so fair a cave" as to deceive. Also she asks, "Was ever book containing such vile matter/So fairly bound?"
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