What is an example of a metaphor in Act 3, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet?

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plcramer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There a few examples of metaphor in act III, scene iii of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. One of the most recurring uses of metaphor in this scene is personification, in which inanimate objects are metaphorically compared to humans. (We should note that not everyone considers personification to be a form of metaphor, but I think one can make the argument that it is.) In Friar Lawrence's opening lines, the Friar personifies both affliction and calamity, and in Romeo's response, Romeo personifies sorrow:


Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man:
Affliction is enamour'd of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity.



Father, what news? what is the prince's doom?
What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand,
That I yet know not?

All of these inanimate qualities and emotions are imbued with will and desires by the figurative language employed in these lines.

Another use of metaphor occurs a few lines later, when Romeo says,

Thou cutt'st my head off with a golden axe,
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.

Obviously the Friar is not literally beheading Romeo in this moment; instead, Romeo is comparing the Friar delivering what he perceives to be devastating news and calling it mercy to an executioner smiling as they put someone to death. Ouch!

Another example, later in the scene still, can be found in Romeo's lines:

Now I have stain'd the childhood of our joy
With blood removed but little from her own?

The metaphor here is "the childhood of our joy." By this, Romeo means that he and Juliet have only recently married and is comparing their short joyous time together to childhood. This metaphor is telling because it implies not just a short time span but also a quality of innocence which Romeo, in killing Tybalt, has destroyed.

Chase Burns eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A good example of a metaphor in Act 3, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet is spoken by Friar Laurence in the first few lines of the scene: 

FRIAR LAURENCE: Romeo, come forth. Come forth, thou fearful man. / Afflication is enamored of thy parts, / And thou art wedded to calamity. (III.iii.1-3)

First, Friar Laurence personifies affliction, giving it the ability to be "enamored" of Romeo. What he means in this line is that Romeo attracts trouble. The next line, however, is the metaphor: 

"Thou art wedded to calamity" 

Romeo is not actually married to calamity, a word which is a synonym for disaster. It would be impossible to "marry" calamity. Rather, the relationship between Romeo and calamity is a metaphor. Friar Laurence is suggesting that Romeo's choices bring about disaster. He also suggests that Romeo's literal marriage to Juliet is a calamity. Their relationship has brought destruction and Romeo has been banished. The deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt are not directly linked to Romeo and Juliet's relationship, but the couple's marriage has definitely ushered in a period of great calamity.