Literary Terms for Romeo and Juliet

Deus ex Machina -Deus ex Machina literally means ‘god out of the machine (unrealistic ending) -In ancient Greek and Roman theater this god is introduced to resolve a complicated plot or conflict.
Groundlings -The poorer spectators in public theaters that had to stand and watch a play from the pit or courtyard. -Back when plays were acted out in the Globe, a ticket for groundlings usually only cost 1 penny.
Blank verse -Blank verse is an unrhymed verse written in iambic pentameter. (10 syllables and every 2nd syllable is stressed) -Much of Romeo and Juliet is written in blank verse because this meter is well suited to serious subjects.
Imagery -Imagery is a form of description that appeals to the senses in order to depean the reader’s or audience’s understanding of the work of literature.-The different types of imagery are: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.
Dramatic foil -Dramatic foil is when two characters have opposite personalities, causing a specific trait to stand out-In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio serves as a dramatic foil to the moody and emotional Romeo.
Soliloquy -A soliloquy is a speech in a play given by a character on stage in which he or she reveals their inner thoughts and feelings to the audience-A soliloquy is usually a lengthy speech and is given when no other characters are on stage
Aside -An aside is a brief remark to the audience, uttered while other characters are nearby but unable to hear-Asides are usually called “breaking the fourth wall” because they break the invisible barrier between the actors and the audience
Metaphor (extended metaphor) -An extended metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things without using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ and that is longer than an actual metaphor-In the beginning of Romeo and Juliet, there is an extended metaphor comparing swans and crows to women.
Literary convention -Literary conventions are the defining features of a particular literary genre-For example a literary convention could be “the breaking of the fourth wall” or the fact that characters are not the actual characters they are actors.
First folio -The first folio is the first collection of shakespeare’s literary works-The first folio was put together 7 years after Shakespeare died
Quarto – A quarto is a sheet of paper folded in half and then half again like a sort of pamphlet-Since most of Shakespeare’s work was not much appreciated when he was alive, most his plays were written in quartos instead of folios.
Tone -Tone is the feelings and emotions that accompany the words in a monologue.-In a play, the tone of the speech is conveyed by the voice of the speaker.
In media res -In medias res is the literary and artistic narrative technique of starting a story from the middle of a situation, rather than the beginning.-Act 1, Scene 1 is an example of In media res because the scene begins in the middle of a conversation between Sampson and Gregory.
Act -An act is a unit or division of drama.-The play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare is composed of 5 acts.
Scene -A scene is a part of a play taking place in a single location and in real time without a break.-In the Play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, the first act for example has 5 scenes.
Stage Directions -Directions in the text that instruct actors’ physical movements.-Skakespear’s quartos, for example, only contained limited stage directions because they were very basic
Sonnet -A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines-The shakespearean sonnet is a distinct kind of sonnet created by Shakespeare (abab,cdcd,efef,gg)
Dramatis Personae -Dramatis Personae is latin for the characters or persons in a play.-Dramatis Personae is a term highly linked to Shakespeare as it is included in the original publication of the first folio.
Foreshadowing -Foreshadowing is usually described as the hints and preparations for later events in a peace of literature.-An example in Romeo and Juliet is when their love is said to be “death-marked”
Theme -A theme is a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work which may be stated directly or indirectly.-One of the most important themes in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is prejudice.
Tragedy -A tragedy is a drama in which the central character meets with disaster or great misfortune.-In a tragedy, the central character’s downfall is usually a result of fate or a serious character flaw.
Poetics -Poetics is a book that Aristotle wrote about the study of poems and drama.-Poetics was focuses on classical tragedies and was inspired by the play of Oedipus Rex.
Dramatic irony -Dramatic irony occurs when the audience or reader knows more about the true state of affairs than the characters do.-It is dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet when they are dancing together not knowing that they are both from enemy families however, the audience knows.
Allusion -An allusion is an indirect or brief reference to a person, place, idea, or thing of some kind of significance. -The sentence, “He is a Romeo with the girls” is an allusion to Romeo, a passionate lover of Juliet in Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”.
William Skakespear -Shakespeare was an english writer from the sixteenth century who is most famous for his play “Romeo and Juliet”.-Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets during the span of his life.

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