Romeo and Juliet Vocabulary

Setting a story’s time, place, and backgroundExample: Although no specific date is given, most scholars say the action of the playprobably takes place around 1200 or 1300 A.D., when Italian families were feuding, in Verona,Italy.
Characters the people (sometimes animals or other beings)who take part in the action of a piece ofliteratureExample: Romeo, Juliet, Friar Lawrence, Tybalt, Mercutio, and all of the other peoplein this play would be the characters.
Round Characters have many personality traits, and are well developed like a real person.Example: Romeo is a round character because he well developed and we know a lotabout him, his family and his feelings
Flat Characters are one dimensional and underdeveloped. They are there to propel theplot or sometimes to provide comic relief.The servants from Act 1 are flat characters. They are only there to give usbackground information about the feud between these two families.
Character Foil a character who has qualities that are in sharp contrast to anothercharacter, thus emphasizing the traits of each.Example: Tybalt is a foil to Benvolio. Benvolio is peaceful and wants to stop thefighting while Benvoilio is rash and apt to fight.
Protagonist the main character in a piece of literatureExample: In this play, Romeo is one protagonist. Juliet is the second protagonist of the play
Antagonist the person or force opposing the main characterExample: Tybalt is one antagonist in the play, because he opposes Romeo, who is a protagonist.Other antagonists of the play are the Capulet and the Montague families. Both of the families are theantagonistic forces because they are not allowing Romeo and Juliet to be together.
Aside words spoken by an actor that is mean to be heard only by the audienceExample: Romeo uses asides as he is listening to Juliet’s soliloquy in Act 2,Scene 2. In line 27, he says,”She speaks.”He is not talking to Juliet, the only other person on stage. Only the audience is intended tohear this line.
Conflict the struggle between opposing forces or charactersExample: An obvious example of conflict is Tybalt’s hatred of Montagues, and especially Romeo,which ends with a fight. Another example of conflict in the play is the Capulet and the Montaguefamilies not allowing Romeo and Juliet to be together.
Foreshadowing events which hint of things to comeExample: In the Prologue to Act 1, the Chorus foreshadows what will happen in the play. Onething that will happen is that a feudwill be renewed violently, “as civil blood makes civil hands unclean”
Idiom An expression that can not be understood based on its literal meaning, but is clear to thosewho are familiar with the language of its origin.Example: In Act 2 Scene 4 Mercutio says to Romeo, “Nay, if our wits run the wild goosechase, I am done. There is not going to really be a wild-goose chase, it is a saying that refersto something that is impossible to find.
Irony What results when the actual outcome differs from what is expected.
Verbal Irony is the contrast or difference between what is said and what is meant
Situational Irony is the contrast between what the characters believe is going tohappen and what really does happen
Dramatic irony is created when the audience knows something that one or more of thecharacters in the story do not. This usually creates anticipation in the audience, as they donot know if or when the character is going to discover when they already know.
Monologue a lengthy speech that one actor gives, that is addressed to other characters on stage and not just theaudience.Example: When Juliet first hears of Tybalt’s death, she is understandably upset and doesn’t know what to do,she goes into a lengthy speech saying, “Shall I speak ill of hum that is my husband?”
Rhyme similar sounds between the ends of two wordsExample: In the Prologue to Act 2, the Chorus speaks in a sonnet, a form of a poem. The first fourlines contain alternating rhymes: Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie,/And young affectiongapes to be his heir./That fair for which love groaned for and would die,/With tender Juliet matched, isnow not fair.
Soliloquy a speech an actor gives when they are alone, as though talking to himself or herself, that often reveal theirinnermost thoughts or feelings.Example: Romeo starts his famous soliloquy about Juliet with the words, “But soft, what light throughyonder window breaks”(II.ii.2). He is speaking to himself about Juliet. Juliet starts her famoussoliloquy about Romeo, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Theme the main idea of a piece of literatureExample: One theme of Romeo and Juliet might be that “haste makes waste.ยด” In other words,hurrying too much often leads to problems.
Allusion A direct or indirect reference to a significant person, event, time or work of literature.Example: In Act 1 Scene 1 when Romeo is speaking of Rosaline, he describes hersaying, “she hath Dian’s wit;” This is an allusion where Romeo makes reference to thegoddess of chastity and therefor implies that Rosaline has the mind of Diana, or is chaste.
Hyperbole a figure of speech which uses exaggeration to provide strong emotion, create humor or make a point.Example: In Act 2, scene 2, when Juliet and Romeo discuss when to meet again, Juliet says, “’tis twentyyears till then.” She is saying it will seem like it is 20 years until 9 o’clock the next day (the time when shewill see Romeo again). This extreme exaggeration illustrates her desire to see him again and how anytime apart seems too long.
Imagery the use of figurative language to paint a sensory picture for the reader so that they maypicture it as if they were watching a movie.Example: In Act 1, Scene 5, lines 55 and 56, Romeo uses imagery to describe Juliet’s beauty when hesays, “So shows a dove trooping with crows / As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.” Romeo iscomparing Juliet to a dove among the crows, meaning she stands out greatly. Doves are white whilecrows are black.