What are some literary devices used in Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 3?Please include line number if possible.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, written in poetic verse, is replete with figurative language and literary devices.  In Act III, Scene 3, there are several literary devices at work:


Friar Laurence's opening words to Romeo give "Affliction" and "calamity" the qualities of a person as "Affliction" is in love and Romeo is married to "calamity":

Affliction is enamour’d of thy parts,
And thou art wedded to calamity. (ll.3-4)

And Romeo replies with personification:

What sorrow craves acquaintance at my hand (l.5)

For exile hath more terror in his look. (l.14)

Later, the friar speaks of

Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy (l.56)

Happiness courts thee in her best array (l. 148)

Figurative Language

Romeo speaks figuratively when he replies to Friar Laurence,

Calling death ‘banishment,’
Thou cut'st my head off with a golden axe
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me. (ll23-25)


In lines 10 and 12, the repetition of the initial consonant sounds of /d/ and /b/ are utilized:

What less than doomsday is the Prince's doom?

Not body's death, but body's banishment.

Then, in line 37, there is more alliteration as the /w/ is repeated

On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand

And, in line 45, the /h/ is repeated:

Howling attends it.  How hast thou the heart


Romeo's reaction to being informed that he is banished from Verona is expressed by him in exaggerated terms:

There is no world without Verona walls (l.18)


As Romeo speaks with the friar, Friar Laurence tells Romeo, using armor to mean courage, and comparing Romeo to a madman.

I'll give thee armor to keep off that word (l.55)

O, then I see that madmen have no ears. (l. 62)

The childhood of our joy (l.99)

The hateful mansion (l.113) 

[Romeo calls this part of his body where his name "lodges."]


Friar Laurence reacts to Romeo's agitated state, addressing sin and ungratefulness,

Oh, deadly sin! Oh, rude unthankfulness! (l. 25)


Romeo uses the word grave, which foreshadows his death,

Taking the measure of an unmarked grave. (l.71)


Blubbering and weeping, weeping and blubbering (l.91)


But, like a misbhav'd and sullen wench,
Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love.(ll.149-150)

Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit,
Which, like a usurer, abound'st in all, (ll128-129)

Calling death ‘banishment,’
Thou cut'st my head off with a golden axe
And smilest upon the stroke that murders me. (137-139)

favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Romeo uses a metaphor to compare his punishment of banishment to a weapon that wounds him.  Speaking to Friar Lawrence, he says, 

How has thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin absolver, and my friend professed,
To mangle me with that word "banished"? (3.3.51-54)

The word, itself, obviously has no physical power to "mangle" Romeo, but its effect on him is so strong and terrible -- because it means he must part from Juliet -- that he feels as though he does him physical injury.

Friar Lawrence uses metaphor in response: 

I'll give thee armor to keep off that word,
Adversity's sweet milk, philosophy,
To comfort thee, though thou art banished.

The friar thus compares those things that can comfort Romeo to an armor, something that wound protect him from the figurative physical wounds the word "banishment" inflicts.

Juliet's nurse uses alliteration when she calls their situation a "Piteous predicament!" with the repetition of the initial consonant "p" sound (3.3.94).

Romeo uses metonymy when he says, 

How is it with [Juliet]?
Doth not she think me an old murderer,
Now I have stained the childhood of our joy,
With blood removed but little from her own?

Romeo compares the newness and joy of their early stages of their love with childhood and the newness and joy of a child's life.  He substitutes "childhood" for "beginning," since childhood is the beginning of life.   

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Romeo and Juliet

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