What are some literary devices in Act III scene 4-5?Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since the entire drama of Romeo and Juliet is a poem as it is written in iambic pentameter, there are many literary devices employed by William Shakespeare.

Scene 4

In a scene that is a counterpoint to that of Act I, Paris asks for an answer to his suit for Juliet; however, Lady Capulet tells him it is very late.  So Paris explains speaking metaphorically that there is no time: "These times of woe afford no tune to woo."  Lady Capulet replies also with a metaphor after saying that Juliet is in her room grieving: "To-night she's mew'd up to her heaviness."

In Capulet's words of lines 12-18, there is assonance, particularly this line, "Wife, go you to her ere you go to bed" with the repetition of the /o/. 

Scene 5

Throughout the first half of this scene, there is the light/dark imagery which prevails through much of the play.  The nightingale is symbolic of the dark while the lark represents the day as Romeo and Juliet as she insists that her husband has time to stay with her, but he cautions her that daylight is coming. But, Juliet contends,

Yon light is not daylight; I know it, I.
It is some meteor that the sun exhales
To be to thee this night a torchbearer
And light thee on thy way to Mantua  (personification)

So Romeo replies with dramatic irony

“Let me be taken, let me be put to death,”

a line which foreshadows his tragic death.  He continues, using personification,

I'll say yon grey is not the morning's eye,
'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's [the moon] brow;

There is a pathetic fallacy as the turbulent feelings of Juliet are attributed by her to the lark,

It is the lark that sings so out of tune,
Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.
Some say the lark makes sweet division;
This doth not so, for she divideth us

Romeo's response contains light/dark imagery, foreshadowing, metaphor, and alliteration:  "More light and light—more dark and dark our woes."

 Romeo continues his alliteration as he departs, "Farewell, farewell! One kiss, and I'll descend."

Lord Capulet provides another example of alliteration: Thy tempest-tossed body

Juliet speaks with parallelism as she asks, "Art thou gone so, my lord, my love, my friend?" Lady Capulet, too, uses parallelism,

 Some grief shows much of love;
 But much of grief shows still some want of wit.

Then, with a simile, Juliet tells Romeo of her presentiment,

Methinks I see thee, now thou art below,

As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.

More personification comes in these lines:

  • Dry sorrow drinks our blood
  • O, how my heart abhors
  • O Fortune, Fortune! all men call thee fickle.
    If thou art fickle, what dost thou with him
    (also apostrophe--O Fortune)

When Juliet's mother enters, she informs her daughter that she will wed Paris.  With verbal irony, Juliet replies, “He shall not make me there a joyful bride!”







".....I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris ..."

lguinto | Student

in Romeo and Juliet

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