Romeo and Juliet

Romeo A handsome, intelligent, and sensitive young man. Though impulsive and immature, his idealism and passion make him an extremely likable character.
Juliet Begins the play as a naïve child who has thought little about love and marriage, but she grows quickly upon falling in love with Romeo.
Friar Lawrence A kind, civic minded friend to both Romeo and Juliet. He is a proponent of moderation, and is always ready with a plan.
Mercutio A kinsman to the Prince, and Romeo’s close friend. He overflows with imagination, wit, and, at times, a strange, biting satire, and brooding fervor. He can be quite hotheaded, and hates people who are affected, pretentious, or obsessed with the latest fashions including the feud.
Nurse A vulgar, long-winded, and sentimental character, she provides comic relief with her frequently inappropriate remarks and speeches.
Tybalt Vain, fashionable, supremely aware of courtesy and lack of it, he becomes aggressive, violent, and quick to draw his sword when he feels his pride has been injured.
Capulet He truly loves his daughter, though he is not well acquainted with Juliet’s thoughts or feelings, and seems to think that what is best for her is a “good” match with Paris. Often prudent, he commands respect and propriety, but he is liable to fly into a rage when either is lacking.
Lady Capulet A woman who is eager to see her daughter married. She is an ineffectual mother, relying on the Nurse for moral and pragmatic support.
Montague Romeo’s father, the patriarch of the Montague clan and bitter enemy of Capulet. At the beginning of the play, he is chiefly concerned about Romeo’s melancholy.
Lady Montague She dies of grief after Romeo is exiled from Verona.
Paris A kinsman of the Prince, and the suitor of the Juliet most preferred by Capulet. Once Capulet has promised him he can marry Juliet, he behaves very presumptuous toward her, acting as I’d they are already married.
Benvolio He makes a genuine effort to defuse violent scenes in public places, though Mercutio accuses him of having a nasty temper in private. He spends most of the play trying to help Romeo get his mind off Rosaline, even after Romeo has already fallen in love with Juliet.
Prince Escalus The prince of Verona. A kinsman of Mercutio and Paris. As the seat of political power in Verona, he is concerned about maintaining the public peace at all costs.
Friar John The friar charged by Friar Lawrence with taking the news of Juliet’s false death to Romeo in Mantua. Friar John is held up in a quarantined house, and the message never reaches Romeo.
Balthasar Romeo’s dedicated servant, who brings Romeo the news of Juliet’s death, unaware that her death is a ruse.
Sampson A servant of the house of Capulet, who, like his master, hate the Montagues. At the outset of the play, he successfully provokes some Montague men into a fight.
The Apothecary An apothecary in Mantua. Had he been wealthier, he might have been able to afford to value his morals more than money, and refused to sell poison to Romeo.
Peter The Nurse’s servant. He is very unintelligent. He doesn’t realize when Mercutio and Benvolio are teasing her.
Rosaline The woman with whom Romeo is infatuated at the beginning of the play. She never appears onstage, but is said by other characters that she is very beautiful and has sworn to live a life of chastity.
Alliteration use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse
Allusion A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art
Aside A dramatic convention by which an actor directly addresses the audience but it is not supposed to be heard by the other actors on the stage.
Blank Verse Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Dramatic Irony In this type of irony, facts or events are unknown to a character in a play or a piece of fiction but known to the reader, audience, or other characters in the work
Foil A character who acts as a contrast to another character
Foreshadowing A narrative device that hints at coming events; often builds suspense or anxiety in the reader.
Hyperbole A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
Metaphor A comparison that establishes a figurative identity between objects being compared.
Monologue A long speech made by one performer or by one person in a group.
Oxymoron A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction
Personification A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
Prose Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.
Pun A joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.
Simile A comparison using “like” or “as”
Soliloquy A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener.
Sonnet A lyric poem of fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to certain definite patterns. It usually expresses a single, complete idea or thought with a reversal, twist, or change of direction in the concluding lines.
Tragedy A serious form of drama dealing with the downfall of a heroic or noble character
April 23, 1564 What is Shakespeare’s birthday?
April 23, 1616 When did Shakespeare die?

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