Romeo and Juliet Terms to Know

allusion reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.
blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameter; used in Romeo and Juliet especially when a major character engages in serious dialogue
comic relief an amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action
couplet a pair of rhyming lines, usually of the same length and meter; a couplet usually expresses a single idea.
dialogue a conversation between two characters; used to reveal character and to advance the action.
direct characterization part of the act of creating and developing a character; in direct characterization, the author directly states a character’s traits.
drama a story written to be performed by actors; the script is made up of dialogue and stage directions.
dramatic irony contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be true
dramatic monologue a poem spoken by one person; in Romeo and Juliet, actors speak in monologues when they have something to say which typically takes more than just a few lines of dialogue.
dynamic character a character that develops and grows during the course of a story.
flat character a character that shows only one trait (a fault or a virtue).
foil a character that contrasts with another character in order to highlight or emphasize character traits; also serves to provide variety for a reader or audience which helps to sustain interest and attention
foreshadowing the use in a literary work of clues that suggest events that have yet to occur.
hyperbole an obvious exaggeration
indirect characterization part of the act of creating and developing a character; in indirect characterization, an author tells what a character looks like, does, and says, and how other characters react to him or her.
motivation a reason that explains, or partially explains, why a character thinks, feels, acts, or behaves in a certain way. results from a combination of the character’s personality and the situation he or she must deal with.
oxymoron two seemingly contradictory (opposite in meaning) words are used together for effect
paradox A statement that seems contradictory or absurd but is actually valid or true. For example, look at the saying “We must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind.”
pun the humorous use of a word or phrase to emphasize or suggest its different meanings; the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
round character a character who shows many different traits—faults as well as virtues.
situational irony event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience.
soliloquy a long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on the stage
sonnet a fourteen-lined poem written in iambic pentameter; sonnets are used several times
stage directions Notes included in a drama to describe how the work is to be performed or staged. These directions are written in italics and are not spoken aloud. They describe sets, lighting, sound effect, and appearance, personalities and movements of characters.
static character a character that does not change
tragedy a work of literature, especially a play, that results in a catastrophe for the main character. The disaster could be a result of a “flaw” in the character, or the cause can be some evil in society. The purpose is not only to arouse fear and pity in the audience, but also, in some cases, to convey the sense of thegrandeur and nobility of the human spirit.
verbal irony words are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant.
aside a short speech delivered by an actor in a play, expressing the character’s thoughts.Traditionally, it is directed to the audience and is presumed to be inaudible to the other actors.