Romeo and Juliet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are some literary terms are exemplified in the following two quotations: 1. “Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir, My daughter he hath wedded.  I will die, And leave him all—life, living, all is Death’s.”   2. First Musician: “Faith, we may put up our pipes and be gone.” Nurse: “For well you know this is a pitiful case.” First Musician: “Ay, by my troth, the case may be amended.”    

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The first literary term we find exemplified in these passages is "personification." Although death is not a person, but something that happens to all living beings, in the first passage death is addressed as though it were a person.

The next literary device we encounter is anaphora, the repetition of the beginning of a phrase. We see this in the repetition of the phrase "Death is my ..." 

We can think of the first quotation as an example of a climax, a rhetorical device which consists of a sequence of words or phrases each more significant or important than the previous one, culminating in something momentous to the speaker. 

Because Lord Capulet is, in essence, expressing the same idea in several ways, amplifying the original point, we can also describe this as an example of amplificatio

The use of multiple meanings of "case" in the second quotation is an example of paronomasia.




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Carter Westfall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Lord Capulet (Juliet's father) utters these words when he discovers that she has supposedly died. He cries out woefully, passionately, not realising that Juliet has swallowed a vial of powerful sleeping potion and that she is only in a deep state of unconsciousness akin to death.

Death is personified and Capulet speaks of it as a real person; Death has become the beneficiary of all that he (Capulet) owns since, in taking his daughter's life, he has joined her in everlasting wedlock. Capulet states that he would die and that Death would thus own everything that he has. Since Death has already taken his daughter's life (leaving him without an earthly heir), he, Capulet, would leave everything, his life and his purpose for living, to Death. Capulet is completely overwhelmed.

To emphasise the dramatic impact of this event, Shakespeare also employs alliteration, assonance and repetition. The reference to Death is repeated and the consonant "d" is repeated. Note the repetition also of the "l" and the repeated use of vowels. Furthermore, for greater effect, Capulet speaks in short brief sentences, richly punctuated.

In the second quote, the alliteration of the "p" sound expresses the futility of the musicians being around, since this is such a sad occasion. In this instance, the inference is that music is associated with joy and celebration, but in this particular circumstance, there is nothing to be joyful about, so the musicians might as well pack up their instruments and leave. The situation is "pitiful." The other musician expresses the honest opinion that circumstances might change for the better ("the case may be amended") - a form of euphemism in the context of these tragic circumstances, possibly voiced to ease the gloom.   

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Additionally, there is parallelism in the first line with the two phrases grammatically balanced.  Then, there is also alliteration in the third line with the repetition of the /l/ sound.

Faith, we may put up our pipes and be gone.

In this line the musician speaks, telling the others that they may quit and leave.  However, it also suggests that there is a futility to doing anything since Death has conquered nearly all. Again there is alliteration with the /p/ sound.

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Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This passage employs personification, since Death is treated as if it were a person.  Likewise, the passage employs metaphor, since dying is likened to getting married. Repetition is used in this passage, as is the playing on different forms of the same basic word, since as the reference to "life, living." Contrast (between life and death) is also used in this passage.

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