Discussion Topic

Literary devices and techniques used throughout Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

Summary:

Shakespeare employs various literary devices and techniques in "Romeo and Juliet," including metaphor, simile, personification, and foreshadowing. He uses iambic pentameter and sonnets to enhance the poetic nature of the dialogue. Dramatic irony is prevalent, as the audience knows more about the characters' fates than they do. Additionally, the play incorporates puns and oxymorons to convey the complexity of love and conflict.

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What literary devices are used in Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 1?

In act 1, scene 1, puns and double meanings are some of the most common figures of speech. Metaphors are also frequently employed, along with personification.

Gregory and Sampson, who are Capulets, have a dialogue about their intended treatment of Montague men and women. They employ double meanings for numerous words. While vowing to fight the men, they explore how they will be “moved”—in both the physical and emotional senses—while calling the Montagues “dogs” (lines 5–10). The conversation soon turns to their proposed sexual attacks on the Montague women, as Sampson says he “will thrust his [Montague’s] women to the wall,” with “thrust” meaning the sword’s motion regarding the men, but for the women referring to sex, in this case rape.

The double meanings continue in regard to the word “maid” and “head” (lines 19–23). "Maidenhead” is a synonym for hymen or virginity.

SAMP: 'Tis all one. I will show myself a tyrant. When I have

fought with the men, I will be civil with the maids; I will

cut off their heads.

GREG: The heads of the maids?

SAMP: Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads.

They continue in this way a bit longer, including the double meaning of “tool” and “naked weapon” to mean both “sword” and “penis” (lines 29–31).

After the first fight scene and the Prince’s pronouncements, Benvolio explains to Lord and Lady Montague what has just happened. He uses metaphor and personification to describe Tybalt’s actions. To emphasize how Tybalt moved his sword swiftly through the air above his head, he says he “cut the winds” (line 107). He then extends this image, giving the personified winds’ reaction: they “hiss’d him in scorn.”

In describing Romeo’s actions and his mood, Montague metaphorically compares the sunrise to the movement of curtains, and then extends this figure of speech into literal usage to describe Romeo performing the opposite action by shutting himself into his bedroom (lines 132–135).

But all so soon as the all-cheering sun

Should in the farthest East begin to draw

The shady curtains from Aurora's bed,

Away from light steals home my heavy son

And private in his chamber pens himself.…

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What literary devices are used in Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 1?

Act I, scene i of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet contains many literary devices. Here are three examples to get you started.

Pun: Sampson and Gregory open the scene with a play on words and their possible meanings, or a pun. Sampson insists that he and Gregory won't "carry coals," a way to say that they won't take anyone's insults casually. Gregory deliberately misunderstands Sampson, saying "No, for then we should be colliers," deliberately ignoring Sampson's metaphor and using the literal meaning of a collier, or a coal-carrying vehicle, in his response to poke fun at Sampson's earnestness.

Metaphor: When the prince interrupts the brawl between the Capulets and the Montagues, he uses the metaphor of fire in comparison with the rage expressed by both groups of men. This comparison emphasizes the hot-temperedness of both groups, and the out-of-control nature of their conflict, much like fire is difficult to restrain once started.

Imagery: When Montague describes the plight of Romeo, who is sad and grieving, to his friend Benvolio, he uses imagery such as "the fresh morning's dew" and "clouds more clouds" to emphasize Romeo's tears, which are as copious as the dew, and his mood, which is as opaque as clouds blocking the sun.

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What literary devices are used in Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 1?

Shakespeare employs puns, metaphor, personification, simile, couplets, oxymorons, hyperbole and allusion in Act I, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet.

A pun is a play on words and often uses homophones, words that sound the same but have different meanings. In the opening four lines, the Capulet servants Gregory and Sampson use a pun on the words colliers, choler and collar. A collier is someone who deals in coal, choler can mean anger and collar is the hangman's noose.

A metaphor is a comparison of two things to show the particular quality of one of those things. When Tybalt enters the scene during the opening fight he compares the servants to female deer. He's basically saying they are cowardly and womanly (for an excellent discussion of this line see the link below):

What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?
When the Prince breaks up the fight between the Montagues and Capulets he uses a metaphor to describe the bloody feud. He compares bleeding to a fountain:
With purple fountains issuing from your veins
Personification is when a non-human thing is given human qualities. After the fight, while Benvolio is talking to Lady Montague about Romeo, he personifies the sun as he tells her about the last time he saw Romeo:
Madam, an hour before the worshiped sun
Peered forth the golden window of the east
He also uses a metaphor to describe the sky as the sun comes up (golden window).   A simile, like a metaphor, is a comparison of two things, but uses the words like or as. Lord Montague is worried about Romeo because his son is sad and moody. He compares him to a flower that has been affected by a parasite:
As is the bud bit with an envious worm
A couplet involves two consecutive lines which rhyme. Several of the characters in the play use couplets. Notice the upper class characters often use couplets, but the servants never do. Lord Montague uses a couplet at the end of his speech about Romeo:
Could we but learn from whence his sorrows grow,
We would as willingly give cure as know.
Oxymorons use contrasting or contradictory concepts placed together. Romeo uses several oxymorons when he is describing his failed love for Rosaline. They help the audience to understand the confusion and sadness Romeo is experiencing:
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health
For excellent examples of hyperbole and allusion in Act I, Scene 1 see the links below to other enotes discussions.
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What language devices and techniques are used in Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 7-43 of Romeo and Juliet?

In act 1, scene 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Paris repeats his request to Juliet's father, Lord Capulet, for permission to marry Juliet.

Shakespeare seems to impart some urgency to Paris's suit for Juliet's hand, since Paris is addressing Lord Capulet so soon after the Prince has broken up the brawl between members of the house of Capulet and the house of Montague, during which Lord Capulet called for his sword in order to challenge Lord Montague.

Lord Capulet has calmed down somewhat, but no doubt he's still angry about the brawl, and upset about being called before the Prince.

CAPULET: But Montague is bound as well as I,
In penalty alike; and 'tis not hard, I think,
For men so old as we to keep the peace. (1.2.1-3)

It doesn't appear that this in an opportune time for Paris to press Lord Capulet for an answer to his "suit." Nor is the middle of the street the best place to make such a request, which would be made more properly at Lord Capulet's home.

Nevertheless, Paris once again raises the question.

PARIS: ...But now, my lord, what say you to my suit? (1.2.6)

As might be expected, Lord Capulet's impatient response is short and sharp.

CAPULET: But saying o'er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years;
Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. (1.2.7-11)

Here, Lord Capulet begins what will become an extended nature metaphor, making references to the changing seasons, and ripening and withering fruit.

Lord Capulet turns and walks away towards his home.

Paris doesn't take the hint, but offers an impertinent rebuttal.

PARIS: Younger than she are happy mothers made. (1.2.12.)

This alliterative remark ("mothers made") stops Lord Capulet in his tracks. He turns to Paris and shuts down Paris's argument with his own aphoristic alliterative response, which he makes to rhyme by repeating Paris last word - which is, in fact, the last word that Paris says in this scene.

CAPULET: And too soon marr'd are those so early made.

From now on, Lord Capulet does the talking.

Lord Capulet's next twenty lines fall into the "Let me explain this to you as clearly as I can" category, coupled with fatherly advice.

Capulet tells Paris that Juliet means the earth to him. He tells Paris that getting his permission to marry her is only part of his task if he wants Juliet as his wife. Paris must woo her, and win her over, and only then will Lord Capulet agree to the marriage.

Lord Capulet invites Paris to the banquet at his house that evening, and once again takes up his nature metaphors, first with dark/light imagery and the reference to the night sky, and by equating the lovely young ladies who will be at the banquet with the stars in heaven.

Lord Capulet's use of imagery in "Well-apparell'ed April" coming on the heels of "limping Winter" is his way of retelling the old adage about young men's fancy turning to love in the spring.

Lord Capulet returns again to nature metaphors with the "fresh female buds" that Paris will see at the banquet, which line might well be spoken by Lord Capulet with a wink and a nod.

"Choose which one you like best," Lord Capulet is saying to Paris, "and if you still like Juliet the best, we'll talk about it."

That speech to Paris done, without another word from Paris, Lord Capulet hands a list of names to his servant, and tells him to invite them to the banquet at the Capulet's home.

SERVANT: Find them out whose names are written here?

The rhyming iambic pentameter and free verse with which Paris and Lord Capulet conversed easily with each other ends here with the Servant's reiteration of Lord Capulet's order to him.

The servant reverts to a more comfortable, prosaic way of speaking, and in a folksy, round-about way, lightly decorated with anaphora (the repetition of "with his..."), takes the next six lines to say that he can't read.

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What language devices and techniques are used in Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 7-43 of Romeo and Juliet?

But saying o'er what I have said before;/My child is yet a stranger in the world;/She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,/Let two more summers wither in their pride,/Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride. (I,ii,7-11)

In his conversation with Paris who wishes to wed his daughter, Lord Capulet uses metaphors of Nature in his references to his daughter.  In Act I, Scene II of "Romeo and Juliet" he refers to her as a fruit that has not yet ripened as on a tree that needs to be "two summers" older before it will bear good fruit.

In lines 13-34, Capulet furthers also the theme of the impulsiveness of youth as he warns Paris, "And too soon marr'd are those so early made."  The light/dark imagery prevalent in the play emerges in lines 24 as Capulet invites Paris to attend the celebration for Juliet:

At my poor house look to behold this night/Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light:/

And, again, Capulet returns to the theme of the need for caution in youth, a theme reinforced later by Friar Lawrence in his "violent delights have violent ends" speech to Romeo:

Such comfort as do lusty young men feel/When well-apparell'd April on the heel/Of limping winter treads, even such delight/Amon fresh female buds shall you this night/Inherit at my house; hear all, all see,...Which on more view of many, mine, being one,/May stand in number, though in reckoning none, (I,ii,25-32)

In addition to the age/youth, caution/impulsiveness theme, Capulet in the above lines continues the extended metaphor of youth being like Nature:  Young men are like April, the virginal girls like flowering buds.

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What literary devices does Shakespeare use in Act 1, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet?

One literary device Shakespeare makes use of in Act I, Scene III is figurative language, such as puns. Since puns twist words, or give more than one meaning to a word, they are a perfect example of using language in a non-literal way, otherwise called using figurative language. We especially see Juliet's Nurse making puns in Act I, Scene 3. For example, when asked how old Juliet is, Nurse makes a pun out of the word "teen" in the lines:

I'll lay fourteen of my teeth--
And yet, to my teen be it spoken, I have but four--
She is not fourteen. (15-17)

What she is literally saying here is that she's so certain that Juliet is thirteen, almost fourteen, that nurse would bet "fourteen of [her] teeth" on it. However, she makes a further joke saying that she actually only has four teeth. The word "teen" is a pun because literally it can be translated to mean sorrow, but it can also refer to Juliet as a teenager. Therefore, what Nurse literally says in line 16 is "to my sorrow be it spoken, I have but four [teeth]," but she can also be saying, "I confess to my teenager [Juliet] that I only have four [teeth]."

A second literary device Shakespeare makes use of in this scene is imagery; he especially uses imagery to characterize Paris. For example, Nurse calls him a "man of wax," referring to a wax statue, meaning that his beauty is statuesque, he is very handsome (80). Both Lady Capulet and Nurse add to his physical description by referring to him as a "flower." Lady Capulet further portrays Paris's beauty when telling Juliet to consider him at the ball that night, saying:

Read o'er the volume of young Paris' face,
And find delight writ there with beauty's pen;
Examine every married lineament,
And see how one another lends content. (85-88)

In saying this, Lady Capulet is telling Juliet to notice how handsome Paris is, to notice how "beauty" has written on his face with her pen and how all of the lines of his face work together well, creating balance and strength. Characterizing Paris as a handsome, desirable man helps us to see later on that marrying Paris really would not have been such a poor decision for Juliet to make.

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What literary technique is used in Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 4, lines 113-120?

These lines, spoken by Romeo, reflect one of the most classic examples of the literary technique of foreshadowing. After all but completely ignoring Mercutio's flowery and long-winded speech on the illusory nature and meaninglessness of dreams, Romeo, still romantic to a fault, continues to ascribe some special significance to his dream. The visual nature of his dream is not revealed, though he interprets its meaning as a sign that no good can come from the group's intrusion on the Capulet party and that the events that follow may even lead to his death.

In the end, of course, this dream turns out to be at least somewhat true. If the group had not visited the party, Romeo may have never met Juliet, and the tragic ending that awaited the pair could have been avoided entirely. Romeo, when contemplating the nature of his dream, decides that whatever higher power governs his life, he will throw himself at its mercy. From this point onward, depending on the reader's lens, he is letting either fate or chance dictate his outcome.

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What literary technique is used in Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 4, lines 113-120?

Shakespeare is using foreshadowing with Romeo's lines.  Romeo has had a dream which has led him to believe that crashing the Capulet party will set off a chain of events that will ultimately lead to his death.  He is fearful about going to the party, yet Mercutio convinces him that dreams are nothing more than visions placed in the mind by Queen Mab, the fairy of dreams.  Although Romeo still has misgivings, he is convinced to go to the party.  As foreshadowed by the dream, Romeo meets Juliet at the party, which leads to the unfortuante events that culminate in the death of the "star-crossed lovers".

To paraphrase Romeo:  "I am afraid because my mind believes that fate has something dreadful planned that will begin tonight, even though this is supposed to be a party we are going to, and that I will be the one to die an early death.  But since I cannot direct fate, I shall let it direct me... onward!"

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What literary devices does Shakespeare use in Romeo and Juliet's first meeting in Act 1, Scene 5?

Of the various literary devices used to present the meeting of Romeo and Juliet, the most striking is the creation of a perfect sonnet between them as they speak their first words to one another. The sonnet is the quintessential form of romantic poetry, and Shakespeare wrote a celebrated sequence of them, so it is not surprising that the form plays an important role in his most romantic play. The prologue of Romeo and Juliet is also a sonnet, but the poem created here has far more significance, since it is formed with the lovers' own words to one another.

The sonnet itself is full of literary devices. Romeo opens with two metaphors. Juliet's hand is a shrine, and his lips are "two blushing pilgrims." Juliet, instead of pulling her hand away in alarm, supplies the second quatrain, with an ingenious play on words, connecting the words "palmer" and "palm" with the image of hands placed together in prayer. The third quatrain is split between Romeo and Juliet, as is the couplet, which precedes their first kiss. The contrast between the awkward first words of most couples and the Shakespearen sonnet full of vivid images and wordplay which heralds the beginning of literature's most famous love affair could not be more complete.

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What literary devices does Shakespeare use in Romeo and Juliet's first meeting in Act 1, Scene 5?

Romeo goes into raptures when he first sees Juliet at the Capulet ball. He uses the literary device of a simile when he says she is:

Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear

This is also an example of antithesis or contrast, for Romeo is contrasting the brightness of Juliet to the, to him, comparative darkness of everything around her. A less poetic person than a wordsmith like Romeo might say that Juliet definitely stands out in crowd.

Romeo uses a metaphor, a comparison not using like or as, when he compares Juliet to

a snowy dove trooping with crows

This is also another example of antithesis: Juliet is contrasted to all the people around her, who fade to crow-like darkness in contrast. She alone stands out vividly.

Romeo uses hyperbole or exaggeration when he says that Juliet is:

Beauty too rich for use

Shakespeare has Romeo use a rhetorical question—a question for which only one answer can be made—when he says:

Did my heart love till now?

He answers as if he is in a dialogue with his eyes, which he personifies as if they are a human being:

Forswear it, sight!

Romeo uses another metaphor when, speaking to Juliet for the first time, he compares his lips to:

two blushing pilgrims
He employs antithesis as well when he juxtaposes "rough" with "tender in the quote below." He also uses alliteration with the repeated "t" sounds in "touch" and "tender:"
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Juliet responds with imagery and repetition when she says to Romeo:
palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.
She also uses punning in the above, for a palmer is another word for pilgrim.

The heightened use of language that the two are inspired to use with other indicates the intense spark that is almost instantly lit between them.

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What literary devices does Shakespeare use in Romeo and Juliet's first meeting in Act 1, Scene 5?

When Romeo first sees Juliet, he says,

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for Earth too dear. (1.5.51-54)

In this, he personifies torches as something that Juliet can teach, and he compares her to a torch itself, via a metaphor, because she seems so radiant to him. Personification is the attribution of human attributes to something that is not human, and a metaphor compares two unalike things by saying that one is another. He uses a simile to compare her to a "rich jewel," suggesting that she is something quite precious and beautiful. A simile is a comparison of two unalike things where one is said to be like or as the other.

Romeo goes on,

So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. (1.5.55-56)

In these lines, Romeo compares Juliet to a beautiful, pure, white dove amidst a flock of plain crows using another simile. He also asks, "Did my heart love till now?" He personifies his heart as having the ability to love because he is so taken by Juliet's beauty and grace.

When Romeo first speaks to Juliet, he calls her a "holy shrine," using another metaphor to compare her to such a sanctified place (1.5.105). He compares his lips, via metaphor, to "two blushing pilgrims" that wait to worship at the holy shrine that is Juliet (1.5.106).

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What literary devices does Shakespeare use in Romeo and Juliet's first meeting in Act 1, Scene 5?

Romeo and Juliet use witty banter, along with religious metaphors and allusions, to flirt with each other during their first meeting. First, Romeo describes his lips as pilgrims seeking their promised reward--a kiss. Juliet quickly plays along but also plays hard-to-get by answering with, "For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,/ An palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss" (I.v.102-103). More specifically, when an author writes a line using one part of a subject to represent the whole, this is called synecdoche. For example, Romeo refers to his lips as pilgrims and Juliet refers to herself as a saint who actually kisses with her hands. Romeo uses wit to gain his kiss by saying that his lips which pray for relief and that Juliet, the saint, must grant his lips their desire. In fact, he says, "Then move not while my prayer's effect I take./ Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg'd"(I.v.109-110).

The act of kissing is referred to as sin and Romeo is just fine with that. Juliet says that now she is left with his sin, but forgets all about that when the second kiss motivates her to say that he kisses "by the book" (I.v.114).

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What are four literary devices used in Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

Mercutio uses personification when he asks Tybalt, "Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher by the ears?  Make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out" (3.1.81-83).  He gives the human attribute of possessing ears to Tybalt's sword, asking Tybalt, essentially, to draw his sword from its "pilch," or scabbard, so that they can fight.  The second sentence of the quotation employs some wordplay: Mercutio tells Tybalt to draw his sword out by its "ears" quickly otherwise Mercutio will have his own sword at Tybalt's ears before Tybalt is even ready.  

When Mercutio describes the wound Tybalt has inflicted upon him, he says it is "a scratch, a scratch" (3.1.97).  Here, he employs understatement; it is a great deal more than a scratch as he admits a moment later that it will be "enough" to kill him.  

Mercutio uses similes when he describes the wound to Romeo: "'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door [...]" (3.1.100-101).  Here, he compares the size of the wound's opening to the depth of a well and the width of a church door, saying that it is not as deep or wide, respectively, but it is at least deep and wide enough to kill him.

Finally, Mercutio uses a pun when he tells his friend, "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man" (3.1.101-102).  Grave can mean "serious," but it also refers to the place where we would bury a body.  Mercutio's wound is quite serious -- it will kill him -- and so both meanings work in his sentence.  It is clever, if sad.

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What are four literary devices used in Act 3, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

Since formatting limits the length of answers, I had to shorten your question to refer to only one Act. Also, scenes 2 through 5 of Act III have already been analyzed for literary devices in previous questions, therefore I focused on Act III, Scene 1.

Two similes can be found in this scene:
1) Mercutio tells Benvolio: "Thou art as hot a Jack in thy mood as any in Italy." This is a simile comparing Benvolio's temper to the fiery temper characteristic of Italians. The name Jack is being used similar to how we would use John Doe to represent any average person. Hence Mercutio is saying Benvolio's temper is as aggressive as anyone's in Italy.

2) Mercutio: "Thy head is full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat." Mercutio is comparing Benvolio's head to that of an egg, saying that his head is as densely packed with arguments as an egg is densely packed with protein.

Assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds can be found in Mercutio's line: "What eye but such an eye would spy out such a quarrel." This line repeats the long vowel sound "i."

A pun, or play on words can be found in Tybalt's and Mercutio's exchange. Tybalt says: "Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo,--"
Mercutio responds: "Consort! what, dost though make us minstrels?"
Tybalt is using consort to refer to companionship or association, while Mercutio translates it by its musical definition, referring to a group of instrumentalists or singers performing together.

Alliteration can be seen in the phrase: "fire-eyed fury." The "f" consonants are repeated at the beginning two words near each other.

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What literary device is used in Juliet's lines in Act 3, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet?

Your teacher might be looking for the word oxymoron as an additional literary device. The phrases you see in those lines that oppose each other qualify for that device. For example, when we say jumbo shrimp, we are saying big little. These are opposites. She calls Romeo an honourable villain and a damned saint. These phrases do not work together, they are oxymorons.

Another device at work is the rhetorical question that the last line you cited is just beginning. You can't really talk to nature. Juliet is wondering why Romeo would be both her love and her great enemy, but this she did know before she got together with him.

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What literary device is used in Juliet's lines in Act 3, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet?

I think that there are at least three literary devices being used here.  I do not know which one you would want to identify as the one.

  • There are paradoxes.  Juliet is saying a number of things that contradict each other.  I think that this is meant here to show how torn she is between love for Romeo and hate for what he has done.
  • There is hyperbole.  She is calling him things like a tyrant and an angel, which he clearly is not.  This shows the depth of her emotion.
  • Finally, there are metaphors.  She is comparing Romeo to all of these things as a way to illustrate what traits she thinks he has.
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What figurative devices are used in Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

Most of the significant figurative devices in act 4 of Romeo and Juliet can be found in scene 5, when Juliet is discovered: supposedly dead. Juliet's father, Lord Capulet, exclaims that "Death lies on her like an untimely frost / Upon the sweetest flower of all the field."

Death is here personified, as it is for the rest of the play after this point. The personification makes death seem, paradoxically, like a living presence on stage. He stalks the characters for the last part of the play until he eventually takes both Romeo and Juliet.

In the quotation above, there is also a simile comparing Death to "an untimely frost." This simile emphasizes how unnaturally cold death is, and the fact that Juliet is subsequently described as "the sweetest flower of all the field" suggests that Death has come too soon. Frost is not meant to make an appearance until winter, but here it has come prematurely: it is, as Lord Capulet says, "untimely." This premature arrival of Death reminds the audience that Juliet is still very young and makes her death—and thus the loss to her parents—all the more tragic.

Later in the same scene, Lord Capulet exclaims that, "with my child my joys are buried." This metaphor alludes to the grave and indicates that, as his daughter is buried beneath the earth, so too will be buried any hope of joy he had. There is a certain irony to this, of course; in act 3, scene 5, Lord Capulet told Juliet that he would "drag [her] on a hurdle" to Saint Peter's Church to marry Paris and that, if she still refused, she should "never look [him] in the face" again.

Trying to comfort Juliet's parents—and also perhaps trying to ease his own conscience, given that he caused this scene of grief—Friar Lawrence says that Juliet is "advanced / Above the clouds, as high as heaven itself." This quotation conjures up images of angels, suggesting that Juliet is happier now with the angels in heaven than she could possibly be on earth.

We, the audience, of course know that Juliet is not really dead at this moment, and so throughout this scene there is dramatic irony, which is when the audience knows something that one or more of the characters on stage does not. The dramatic irony in this instance could make it more difficult for us to empathize with the grief of the parents or make us dislike Friar Lawrence for putting Juliet's parents through such an ordeal.

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What figurative devices are used in Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

Early in the first scene, Paris uses an allusion to the Roman goddess of love, Venus.  He says that "Venus smiles not in a house of tears" (4.1.8).  He hopes to marry Juliet soon, but she seems to cry over the death of her cousin, Tybalt (though she is really weeping over the exile of her new husband, Romeo).  When Paris alludes to Venus in this way, he means that it is hard for love to grow in a home filled with such sadness.  Paris has not been able to pursue his feelings for Juliet lately because of her terrible grief.

Later, when Juliet speaks to Friar Lawrence in desperation because she will be forced to marry Paris, she says, "God joined my heart and Romeo's" (4.1.56).  She is speaking of the heart as though it were the actual physical site in which love takes place, but it is not.  Here, she is using a figure of speech called metonymy.  Metonymy occurs when one substitutes something associated with a thing for that thing.  She does not say that God made them each love one another; she says that God joined their hearts, substituting hearts for love because hearts are associated with love.  It is a more poetic way to say the same thing.

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What figurative devices are used in Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet?

In Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses personification, a type of figurative or literary device in which a non-living object is given human qualities. For example, Juliet says to Friar Laurence in scene 1, "this bloody knife/Shall play the umpire." In this figure of speech, a knife is likened to an umpire who can choose between the two difficult choices Juliet has to make--whether to marry Paris or admit she is already married to Romeo. Later in the scene, the Friar says, "No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest," meaning that no breath will give away that Juliet is still living after she's taken the drug he prescribes. This is another example of personification. At the end of scene 3, Juliet summons the vial with the drugs she is taking as if it is human. She says, "Come, vial," and she addresses the vial like it is a person.

Juliet uses similes later in scene 3. She says that in the tomb, she might hear screams that she describes as "shrieks like mandrakes torn out of the earth." Mandrakes are a type of root that was rumored to yell like a human when torn from the earth. Mandrakes were thought to have had magical qualities that were used in witchcraft. In scene 5, Romeo uses a metaphor to compare money to poison. When he uses money to buy poison from the apothecary, he says, "gold, worse poison to men’s souls" than the poisons the apothecary sells.  

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