What are some literary devices used in Romeo and Juliet?

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In addition to puns and foreshadowing, Shakespeare makes good use of personification throughout his play, as well. In the beginning of Act II, Scene 3, the Friar, while tending to his herb garden says, "The gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,/Check'ring the eastern clouds with streaks of light;". The morning is personified because it is described as smiling and the night is personified because it is being described as frowning. The acts of smiling and frowning are actions performed by people, which makes the example personification. Another example of personification occurs in Act II, Scene 2, the famous balcony scene in which Romeo and Juliet profess their love to each other. While watching Juliet on her balcony, Romeo says to himself, "Two of the fairest stars in al the heaven,/Having some business, do entreat her eyes/To twinkle in their spheres till they return."  Romeo personifies the stars as asking Juliet's eyes to shine in their place should they have to attend to other matters. This is also an example of imagery. Romeo is using images of light to describe Juliet.

Dramatic irony is another literary device used in the play. It's a type of irony in which the audience knows information that the one or more of the characters in the play do not yet know. For example, Lord Capulet has no idea that Juliet has already secretly married Romeo when he arranges her marriage to Paris. Another example of dramatic irony occurs in the famous balcony scene. When Juliet professes her love to Romeo while standing on her balcony, she has no idea Romeo is hiding below in the garden. That is why she is so surprised and a bit embarassed when he pops out of the bushes and says he also loves her.

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There are literary hundreds of examples of literary devices used in Romeo and Juliet.  Here are a few of them.   The Prologue is an example of a sonnet and, therefore, the last two lines of the Prologue is a couplet.  In Act 1, scene 1, the servents of both houses use many puns particularly in the first few lines between Sampson and Gregory, "No, for then we should be colliers/I mean, an we be in choler, we'll draw./Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o' the collar." (lines 2-4).

There is a perfect example of foreshadowing in Act 1, scene 5, when Juliet says, "...if he be married./My grave is like to be my wedding bed."   Act 2, scene 2 (also known as the balcony scene has some very good examples of literary devices as well -- In lones 28-29, Romeo uses a simile to compare Juliet to an angel when he says, "As glorious to this night, being o'er my head/As is a winged messenger of heaven."  In addition, most of this scene is full of soliloquys by the two main characters.


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