Romeo and Juliet Lit Terms and quote translations

Tragedy a dramatic work that presents the downfall of a dignified character or characters who are involved in historically or socially significant events. Decisions are often made in error in judgment. Ex: Romeo & Juliet
Comic relief A humorous scene, incident, or speech that is included in a serous drama to provide a change from emotional intensity.
Allusion An indirect reference to another literary work or to a famous person, place or event.
Foil A character who provides a striking contrast to another character.
Soliloquy In drama, it is a speech in which a character speaks thoughts aloud. Generally, the character is on the stage alone, not speaking to other characters.
Aside When a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud, in words meant to be heard by the audience by not by other characters.
Blank verse This is unrhymed poetry written in iambic pentameter.
pun the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound
Tragic hero This person has the potential for greatness but is doomed to fail. He is trapped in a situation where he cannot win. He makes some sort of tragic flaw, and this causes his fall from greatness. Even though he is a fallen hero, he still wins a moral victory, and his spirit lives on.
Dramatic conventions A set of rules which both the audience and actors are familiar with and which act as a useful way of quickly signifying the nature of the action or of a character.
Iambic pentameter This is a type of meter that is used in poetry and drama. It describes a particular rhythm that the words establish in each line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called ‘feet’. The word ‘iambic’ describes the type of foot that is used. The word ‘pentameter’ indicates that a line has five of these ‘feet’.
oxymoron a combination of contradictory or incongruous words
personification representation of a thing or abstraction as a person or by the human form
flashback interruption of chronological sequence
Two households, both alike in dignity(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDoth with their death bury their parents’ strife.The fearful passage of their death-marked loveAnd the continuance of their parents’ rage,Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage—The which, if you with patient ears attend,What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. In the beautiful city of Verona, where our story takes place, a long-standing hatred between two families erupts into new violence, and citizens stain their hands with the blood of their fellow citizens. Two unlucky children of these enemy families become lovers and commit suicide. Their unfortunate deaths put an end to their parents’ feud. For the next two hours, we will watch the story of their doomed love and their parents’ anger, which nothing but the children’s deaths could stop. If you listen to us patiently, we’ll make up for everything we’ve left out in this prologue onstage.
What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word,As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.Have at thee, coward! TYBALTWhat? You take out your sword and then talk about peace? I hate the word peace like I hate hell, all Montagues, and you. Let’s go at it, coward!
Rebellious subjects, enemies to peace,Profaners of this neighbor-stainèd steel!—Will they not hear?—What, ho! You men, you beasts,That quench the fire of your pernicious rageWith purple fountains issuing from your veins,On pain of torture, from those bloody handsThrow your mistempered weapons to the ground,And hear the sentence of your movèd prince.Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streetsAnd made Verona’s ancient citizensCast by their grave-beseeming ornaments,To wield old partisans in hands as old,Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.If ever you disturb our streets again,Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.For this time, all the rest depart away.You, Capulet, shall go along with me,And, Montague, come you this afternoonTo know our farther pleasure in this case,To old Free-town, our common judgment-place.Once more, on pain of death, all men depart. PRINCE(shouting at the rioters) You rebels! Enemies of the peace! Men who turn their weapons against their own neighbors—They won’t listen to me?—You there! You men, you beasts, who satisfy your anger with fountains of each others’ blood! I’ll have you tortured if you don’t put down your swords and listen to your angry prince. (MONTAGUE, CAPULET, and their followers throw down their weapons) Three times now riots have broken out in this city, all because of a casual word from you, old Capulet and Montague. Three times the peace has been disturbed in our streets, and Verona’s old citizens have had to take off their dress clothes and pick up rusty old spears to part you. If you ever cause a disturbance on our streets again, you’ll pay for it with your lives. Everyone else, go away for now. (to CAPULET) You, Capulet, come with me. (to MONTAGUE) Montague, this afternoon come to old Free-town, the court where I deliver judgments, and I’ll tell you what else I want from you. As for the rest of you, I’ll say this once more: go away or be put to death.
Verona’s summer hath not such a flower. LADY CAPULETSummertime in Verona has no flower as fine as him.
Compare her face with some that I shall show,And I will make thee think thy swan a crow. BENVOLIO metaphorThe woman who you think is as beautiful as a swan is going to look as ugly as a crow to you.
I’ll look to like if looking liking move. JULIETI’ll look at him and try to like him, at least if what I see is likable.
I fear too early, for my mind misgivesSome consequence yet hanging in the starsShall bitterly begin his fearful dateWith this night’s revels, and expire the termOf a despisèd life closed in my breastBy some vile forfeit of untimely death. ROMEO foreshadowingI’m worried we’ll get there too early. I have a feeling this party tonight will be the start of something bad, something that will end with my own death.
Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!It seems she hangs upon the cheek of nightLike a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear,Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night. ROMEOOh, she shows the torches how to burn bright! simileShe stands out against the darkness like a jeweled earring hanging against the cheek of an African. Did my heart ever love anyone before this moment? My eyes were liars, then, because I never saw true beauty before tonight.
Go ask his name.—If he be married.My grave is like to be my wedding bed. JULIET foreshadowing and oxymoron: grave to wedding bedGo ask. (the nurse leaves) If he’s married, I think I’ll die rather than marry anyone else.
O serpent heart hid with a flowering face!Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical!Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!Despisèd substance of divinest show,Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st.A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!O nature, what hadst thou to do in hellWhen thou didst bower the spirit of a fiendIn moral paradise of such sweet flesh?Was ever book containing such vile matterSo fairly bound? Oh, that deceit should dwellIn such a gorgeous palace! JULIET oxymoronOh, he’s like a snake disguised as a flower. Did a dragon ever hide in such a beautiful cave? He’s a beautiful tyrant and a fiendish angel! He’s a raven with the feathers of the dove. He’s a lamb who hunts like a wolf! I hate him, yet he seemed the most wonderful man. He’s turned out to be the exact opposite of what he seemed. He’s a saint who should be damned. He’s a villain who seemed honorable. Oh nature, what were you doing in hell? Why did you put the soul of a criminal in the perfect body of a man? Was there ever such an evil book with such a beautiful cover? Oh, I can’t believe the deepest evil lurked inside something so beautiful!

You Might Also Like