Romeo and Juliet Literary Terms

Play A type of literature written by an author called a playwright. Includes dialogue, characters, actions, conflict, and is divided up into acts and scenes.
Tragedy A play that shows the serious and important events in which the main character comes to an unhappy end. However, the audience learns lessons from characters’ mistakes.
Comedy Structurally, a comedy is the opposite of a tragedy. It is a story or play that ends happily, often with a marriage.
Dialogue The conversation between characters in a story or play.
Diction A writer’s or speaker’s choice of words.
Connotation Feelings associated with a word.
Denotation The actual definition of a word.
Tragic Hero The protagonist (main character) of the tragedy. The tragic hero is usually of noble birth with heroic traits that, if things had gone another way, he or she could have lived a happy life. (Romeo and Juliet)
Tragic Flaw A personality trait of a character that leads to their downfall. (Romeo and Juliet’s rash/uncareful decision making)
Prologue An introduction that comes before a literary work. It may introduce or explain the story, but it is separate from story itself.
Monologue When a speaker addresses one or more silent listeners, often reflecting on a specific problem or situation. Only one character is speaking.
Soliloquy A long speech in which a character who is onstage is alone and expresses his or her thoughts aloud.It is meant for the audience tohear/ understand a character’s inner thoughts.
Foil A foil is a character who is used as a contrast to another character.This helps show and emphasize the specific qualities of two characters. A foil intensifies or shows the qualities of another character. (Examples: Tybalt and Benvolio, Nurse and Lady Capulet)
Meter regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.
Syllable One segment of speech. Words have one or more syllables.
Iambic Pentameter a line of poetry that contains five iambs. An iamb is a unit of measurement that has one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. (Hello has one iamb)
Rhymed Verse Repetition of accented vowel sounds, and all sounds following them, in words that are close together in a poem.
Blank Verse Poety written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. It can showthe high status of a characterBlank = no rhymed. The meter (beat) from iambic pentameter makes it verse.
Sonnet A 14 line lyrical poem that is usually written in iambic pentameter.
Shakespearean Sonnet made up of three, four lined units (quatrains) followed by a concluding two line unit (couplet). Rhyme scheme is usually abab cdcd efef gg.
Allusion A reference to a statement, a person, a place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or pop culture.
Pun A play on the multiple meanings of a word or on two words that sound alike but have different meanings.
Aside Words that are spoken by a character in a play to the audience or to another character but that are not supposed to be overheard by the others on stage.
Imagery Language that appeals to the senses. It is created through description and word choice.
Rhymed Couplets Two consecutive (in a row) lines of poetry that rhyme with each other.
Prose language that is written or spoken in an”ordinary” format; it does not have meter or rhyme. Used to show inappropriate topics or low status. (Ex. of Characters: Servants, Nurse, sometimes Mercutio and Benvolio)
Irony Dramatic-Audience knows something character doesn’t.Situational-What should happen vs what does.Verbal-Says one thing, means the opposite.
Foreshadowing The use of clues to hint at events that will occur later in a plot.
Oxymoron A figure of speech where opposite or contradictory terms are used together/ combined to express an idea. Usually used to show emotions, confusion, or imagery.
Comic Relief Comic scene or event that breaks up a serious play or narrative.
Tone Attitude a writer takes towards a subject, a character, or the audience.
Theme a generalized statement about life that can be taken from the story. (Hatred can destroy everything important in life, Love can overcome extreme obstacles, All actions lead to consequences, and Even the best intentions can lead to negative results)
Universal Theme An overarching idea about life shared by many cultures.
FRIAR LAURENCEThe grey-eyed morn [morning ] smiles on the frowning night,Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,And flecked darkness like a drunkard reelsFrom forth [forward ] day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels:Now, ere [before ] the sun advance his burning eye,The day to cheer and night’s dank [cold and wet] dew to dry, Soliloquy, Rhymed Couplets (not verse), Allusions, Personification
ROMEOThen plainly know my heart’s dear love is setOn the fair daughter of rich Capulet:As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;And all combined, save what thou [you ] must combineBy holy marriage: when and where and how Rhymed Verse (Iambic Pentameter and Rhymes)
BENVOLIOTybalt, the kinsman [male relative] of old Capulet,Hath [Has] sent a letter to his father’s house.MERCUTIOA challenge, on my life. Dramatic Irony
MERCUTIOMore than prince of cats, I can tell you. O, he isthe courageous [brave] captain of compliments. He fights asyou sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, andproportion; rests me his minim rest, one, two, andthe third in your bosom [chest]: the very butcher of a silkbutton, a duellist [swordfighter], a duellist [swordfighter]; a gentleman of thevery first house, of the first and second cause:ah, the immortal [incapable of dying] passado [fencing maneuver]! the punto reverso [fencing maneuver]! The hai! Comic Relief, Characterization
MERCUTIOWithout his roe, like a dried herring: flesh, flesh,how art thou [are you] fishified! Now is he for the numbersthat Petrarch flowed in: Laura to his lady was but [was only] akitchen-wench; marry, she had a better love tobe-rhyme her; Dido a dowdy [sloppy and old-fashioned]; Cleopatra a gipsy;Helen and Hero hildings [poor people] and harlots [prostitutes]; Thisbe a greyeye or so, but not to the purpose. SigniorRomeo, bon jour! there’s a French salutation [greeting]to your French slop. You gave us the counterfeit [(make fake money or goods)]fairly last night. Allusions, Comic Relief
ROMEOPardon, good Mercutio, my business was great; and insuch a case as mine a man may strain courtesy [kindness/politeness].MERCUTIOThat’s as much as to say, such a case as yoursconstrains [holds back] a man to bow in the hams. Pun
MERCUTIOA sail, a sail! Comic Relief
NURSENow, afore God, I am so vexed [irritated and frustrated], that every part aboutme quivers [shakes (in fear)]. Scurvy knave [Mean, disgraceful criminal]! Pray you, sir, a word:and as I told you, my young lady bade [asked/invited] me inquire [ask] youout; what she bade [asked/invited] me say, I will keep to myself:but first let me tell ye, [you,] if ye [you ] should lead her intoa fool’s paradise, as they say, it were a very grosskind of behavior, as they say: for the gentlewomanis young; and, therefore, if you should deal doublewith her, truly it were an ill thing to be offeredto any gentlewoman, and very weak dealing. Monologue

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