What type of figurative language does Lord Capulet use to describe Juliet’s grieving in Romeo and Juliet?

The figurative language Lord Capulet uses to describe Juliet's grieving is the metaphor of a ship tossed in a stormy sea. Her body is the little ship, her eyes are an ebbing and flowing sea of salt tears, and her sighs are the raging winds, threatening to overturn and sink her in her emotions.

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At the opening of act 3, scene 5 of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet awaken from their wedding night. Romeo must hurry away or risk being found in Verona, from which he's been banished by the Prince for killing Juliet's cousin, Tybalt.

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At the opening of act 3, scene 5 of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet awaken from their wedding night. Romeo must hurry away or risk being found in Verona, from which he's been banished by the Prince for killing Juliet's cousin, Tybalt.

The Nurse rushes in to tell Juliet that her mother, Lady Capulet, is on her way to Juliet's room.

As they part, Juliet has a vision of Romeo "As one dead in the bottom of a tomb" (3.5.55), which foreshadows the final scene of the play.

Lady Capulet enters, and she mistakes Juliet's tears at Romeo's departure as tears for Tybalt's death. Juliet has true grief for Tybalt, but she's feigns hatred and revenge towards Romeo.

JULIET. Indeed I never shall be satisfied
With Romeo till I behold him—dead—
Is my poor heart so for a kinsman [her cousin, Tybalt] vex'd (3.5.96–98).

Lady Capulet tells Juliet to cheer up because Lord Capulet has arranged for Juliet to marry Paris on Thursday, just two days away.

Juliet's emotions of grief for Tybalt and her sadness in parting with Romeo are joined by her frustration at the thought of being forced to marry Paris, which brings further tears to her eyes.

Lord Capulet enters to find Juliet crying. He remarks that he thought Juliet's tears for Tybalt ended the night before, but here she is, crying even more the next morning.

LORD CAPULET. When the sun sets the air doth drizzle dew,
But for the sunset of my brother's son [Tybalt]
It rains downright (3.5.128–130).

He inelegantly compares Juliet to a "conduit," a water pipe or drain pipe full of tears.

CAPULET. How now? a conduit, girl? What, still in tears?
Evermore show'ring? (3.5.131–132)

Lord Capulet then refers metaphorically to Juliet as a little ship tossed in a storm at sea. Her body is the ship, her eyes are the sea, overflowing with salt tears, and her sighs are the raging wind.

LORD CAPULET. In one little body
Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind:
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs,
Who, raging with thy tears and they with them... (3.5.133–138).

In what appears to be uncharacteristic fatherly concern, Lord Capulet worries that if Juliet doesn't calm down she'll be overcome by her emotions.

LORD CAPULET. Without a sudden calm will overset
Thy tempest-tossed body. (3.5.139–140)

The poetic interlude and Lord Capulet's seeming concern for his daughter's emotional well-being pass quickly. Lord Capulet is much more interested in Juliet's reaction to the news that she's going to marry Paris in two days.

Lord Capulet is not at all pleased that Juliet rejects the notion of marrying Paris. Within seconds of appearing to comfort her in her grief, he berates her and calls her names for disobeying him, heaping metaphor after disparaging metaphor on her.

LORD CAPULET. Mistress minion you,
Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next
To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!
You tallow-face! ... young baggage! disobedient wretch! (3.5.154–160, 164)

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Capulet compares Juliet’s grief over Tybalt's death to a storm.

Figurative language is language that is used descriptively, not literally.  Shakespeare uses figurative language often, because in a play you only have the words of the actors to tell a story and for characterization.  Figurative language helps create a more vivid world for the audience.

When Romeo kills Tybalt, this is a terrible tragedy for the Capulet family.  It is particularly horrific for Juliet.  She loves both Tybalt and Romeo.  She does not know what to do, and she knows that Romeo is not a bad person.  Her family has no idea that she is not just grieving for Tybalt, but for Romeo too.

Juliet’s parents want her to marry Paris, a nobleman her father has chosen.  They have no idea that she is married already to Romeo.  Romeo has been banished for fighting with Tybalt.  The Capulets agree to let Paris talk to Juliet later, when she is not so upset. 

PARIS

These times of woe afford no time to woo.
Madam, good night: commend me to your daughter.

LADY CAPULET

I will, and know her mind early to-morrow;
To-night she is mew'd up to her heaviness. (Act 3, Scene 4) 

Lady Capulet uses figurative language here, using the metaphor that Juliet is “mew'd up to her heaviness” over Tybalt’s death.  In other words, she is so upset that she has shut herself up in her grief and needs to be left alone. 

Lord Capulet also uses figurative language to describe Juliet’s grief, comparing it to a storm.

When the sun sets, the air doth drizzle dew;
But for the sunset of my brother's son
It rains downright.
How now! a conduit, girl? what, still in tears?
Evermore showering? (Act 3, Scene 5)

A storm is an appropriate metaphor for grief, because you cry and cry when you are sad.  In this comparison, Juliet is crying so much that she is causing a storm.  Capulet wants her to stop crying so that she can move on with her life and marry Paris.

They have no idea how bad things will get.  We have to remember that the entire Capulet family is grieving and not thinking too clearly right now.  It helps to explain why Lord Capulet went from saying that Juliet was too young to agreeing to let Paris marrying her.  Juliet is hurting in ways her family can’t imagine, but they are hurting too.

 

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