Literary Elements Romeo and Juliet
Alliteration Repetition of consonant sounds at beginning of words.
Act I, scene iii: Juliet says, “I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.”
Allusion Reference to a literary or historical character or event
Act I, scene i: Romeo alludes to Cupid and Diana from Roman mythology
Antagonist A character or force in conflict with a main character.
An apostrophe Character speaks to a person or idea that isn’t or can’t be present Act III, scene iii: Nurse says, “O, Tybalt, Tybalt, the best friend I had! (He’s dead)
Aside Lines spoken by an actor to himself or directly to the audience.
Act III, scene 5: Juliet responds to Lady Capulet, “Villain and he be many miles asunder.”
Comic relief Humor inserted into the play to break a serious mood
Act V, scene 5: Conversation between Peter and themusicians.
Dramatic Irony When a character’s words or actions have one meaning for the character and a different meaning for the audience or reader. Act III: Juliet’s despair is interpreted by her father as sadness for Tybalt’s death when in fact she is in despair over Romeo’s banishment.
Foil A character that highlights or brings out the personality traits of another character in the play. Act I, scene 1 Benvolio, who tries to quiet the brawling servants, is a foil to the fiery Tybalt. Also, his calm and sensible disposition is a foil to the moody and emotional Romeo.
Foreshadowing: Use of clues to suggest what is going to happen.
Prologue at the beginning of the play describe the lovers as “star-crossed”
Imagery Language that appeals to the senses.
metaphor Compares too dissimilar things.
Act II, scene ii: Romeo says, “Juliet is the sun!”
Monologue A lengthy speech delivered by a character and is addressed to other characters in the play, not the audience. Act I, scene 4: Mercutio’s speech to Romeo about Queen Mab, Act III: Friar Lawrence’s speech to Romeo about being fortunate
Oxymoron- Description that contains a self-contradiction.
Juliet says to Romeo, “Parting is such sweet sorrow…” Damned saint Honorable villain
Personification Object is given human or animal characteristics
Act II, “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon who already sick and pale with grief…”
Prologue Brief opening section of the play spoken by a single actor called “the chorus” Welcomes the audience and gives them a taste of the story.
Protagonist Main character in a literary work
Pun A play on the multiple meanings of a work, or on two words that sound alike but have different meanings. Romeo and his friend Mercutio clown around a the start of the play Romeo and Mercutio trade wits in a series of more sophisticated puns Some are barely understandable today
Rites of passage Romeo discovers the difference between infatuation and love Juliet realizes there is more to life than being a dutiful daughter
simile Compares two different terms using like or as.
Act II, scene ii: Romeo watches Juliet from afar. Romeo says, “For thou art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head, as if a winged messenger of heaven.”
Soliloquy A long speech delivered by a character alone on stage to let the audience know what the character is thinking and feeling.
Tragedy A drama in which events turn out disastrously for the main characters, often resulting in death.
Tragic flaw The weakness in the tragic hero, which leads to their downfall. Romeo’s tragic flaw could be reacting without thinking– impulsiveness.
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