Romeo and Juliet: term examples

pun a play on words, “we’ll not carry coals” “no, for then we should be colliers” “while you live, draw your neck out of a collar”
oxymoron putting two contradictory words together: “serious vanity; brawling love; loving hate”
irony a difference between appearance and reality; the two households are dignified, but in a violent feud.
foreshadowing hints at the events to occur later in a story: Romeo dreams a dream that the events at the party will lead to his untimely death
aside a statement made by a character in a play not by the other characters on the stage — Samson asks Gregory: “Is the law on our side if I say ‘aye’?”
sonnet a fourteen-line poem, usually in iambic pentameter: the prologue to the play – “Two households, both alike in dignity…”
monologue a lengthy speech in which a character speaks to other characters: Capulet’s long speech to Paris about the feast tonight: “Tonight we hold an old accustomed feast…”
Prologue The first words of the play – an opening sonnet that serves as an introduction. “Two households, both alike in dignity”; or Act 2: “Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie…”
Quatrain A set of 4 rhymed lines (abab or abba, or abcb)
Couplet A set of 2 rhymed lines (aa, bb, etc.): “The which, if you with patient ears attend/ What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”
Drama fiction represented in performance – an audience watches: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Simpsons, MI4, Wicked, etc.
Comedy a drama that ends happily, like with a marriage: Much Ado About Nothing, R&J first 2 acts
Tragedy A drama where main character(s) are brought to ruin or sorrow due to a character flaw or error in judgment. Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, Macbeth, Othello
Soliloquy A speech in a play that is spoken alone; representing character’s inner thoughts – Romeo’s “What light through yonder window breaks?” below the balcony
Dramatic irony When the audience knows something the character does not know: when Romeo can hear everything Juliet says on the balcony when she thinks she’s alone
Irony The opposite of what is expected – a twist: it’s ironic that fate brings together a Capulet and Montague to fall in love
Iambic A beat with an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable: “two HOUSEholds BOTH aLIKE in DIGniTY”
Pentameter A repetition of a rhythm five times in a line. “from FORTH / the FA / tal LOINS / of THESE / two FOES”
Classical Allusion Reference to a Greek or Roman myth or god: Mercutio says to Romeo, “You’re a lover – borrow cupid’s wings…”
Simile Imaginative comparison of two unlike things using the words “like” or “as” — Friar says that “darkness like a drunkard reels.”
Metaphor Imaginative comparison of two unlike things, one spoken of as if it were the same as the other (not using “like” or “as”) – Friar says the morning is “checkering the eastern skies with streaks of light,” referring to the clouds as a checkerboard.
Personification Language that gives nonhuman things human-like qualities: Capulet says that “Death is my son-in-law.”
Stage Directions Instructions written into the play in italics, such as for exits, entrances, and specific actions and ways of saying lines.
Blank Verse Poetic lines of the play that have a set rhythm but do not rhyme — Shakespeare uses blank verse in iambic pentameter for his upper class characters

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