Romeo and Juliet – Dramatic Devices

Task: Find an example of each of these devices 

Chorus: The chorus is used in Romeo and Juliet during the prologue, where it is explained what is going to happen in the play in a 14 line sonnet. The chorus is basically explaining the whole play but from the narrator’s point of view. In the Romeo and Juliet play the Chorus explains the two noble households in the city of Verona (where the scene is set) that have an ancient grudge against each other that remains a sort of violent and bloody conflict. The Chorus states that from these two house’s, a pair of “star-crossed” lovers will emerge and will mend the terrible strife between the two families by dying. The story of these two protagonists and their two households will be the topic of this play. The Chorus in classical Greek drama was a person who described and commented on the main action of the play, in Romeo and Juliet the Chorus is basically the narrator. ” 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 foes A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, Whose misadventured piteous overthrows doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. The fearful passage of their death-marked love And 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 ” (The Prologue). 

Dramatic Irony: The Nurse comes to wake Juliet for her wedding, she must wake her as Count Paris has come with musicians to accompany them to Friar Lawrence’s cell. The Nurse draws back Juliet’s curtains to reveal Juliet’s “dead body”. This is a good example of dramatic irony because the Nurse has no idea of what Juliet has done to her self but the audience knows that Juliet is either dead of fast asleep for forty-two hours. The audience knows something that the characters don’t, so this is an example of dramatic irony. “Mistress! What, mistress! Juliet!—Fast, I warrant her, she.— Why, lamb! Why, lady! Fie, you slug-a-bed. Why, love, I say. Madam! Sweet-heart! Why, bride! What, not a word? You take your pennyworths now. Sleep for a week, for the next night, I warrant, The County Paris hath set up his rest That you shall rest but little.—God forgive me, Marry, and amen. How sound is she asleep! I must needs wake her.—Madam, madam, madam! Ay, let the county take you in your bed. He’ll fright you up, i’ faith. Will it not be? (opens the bed curtains) What, dressed and in your clothes, and down again? I must needs wake you. Lady, lady, lady!— Alas, alas! Help, help! My lady’s dead!— Oh, welladay, that ever I was born!— Some aqua vitae, ho!—My lord! My lady!” (Act 4, Scene 5). 

Pathetic Fallacy: Pathetic fallacy is used in Romeo and Juliet when the settings of the environment reflect the emotions of events in the play or the human world.  Romeo  “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she”. In this line, the sun is able to commit the human act of killing and the moon is described as with the human emotions of envy and grief. Juliet is also described as the sun (Act 2, Scene 2).

Soliloquy: Soliloquy, also called a monologue, is a form of speech in which a character in a play expresses their thoughts, plans, sentiments, or ideas aloud for the audience to hear and listen to, the character is speaking to themselves and no other characters are involved. Examples of soliloquy are when Friar Lawrence was in his cell expressing his sentiments in a monologue in lines 1-22 until Romeo appears. His comments in this scene relate to nature and the powers of herbs and drugs, that everything that is good can have a bad outcome should it be abused, these words may relate to the tragedy that awaits Romeo and Juliet ahead?. Friar Lawrence “Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities. For naught so vile that on the earth doth live But to the earth some special good doth give. Nor aught so good but, strained from that fair use Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse. Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice sometime by action dignified” (Act 2, Scene 3). Another example of soliloquy in Romeo and Juliet is  when Juliet expresses her impatience for her nurse after she sent her out at nine o’clock to get news from Romeo of her marriage to him. Juliet feels in matters of love things should happen faster and she is worried that her nurse has not returned yet after three hours. “The clock struck nine when I did send the Nurse. In half an hour she promised to return. Perchance she cannot meet him. That’s not so. Oh, she is lame! Love’s heralds should be thoughts, Which ten times faster glide than the sun’s beams, Driving back shadows over louring hills. Therefore do nimble-pinioned doves draw love And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings. Now is the sun upon the highmost hill Of this day’s journey, and from nine till twelve Is three long hours, yet she is not come. Had she affections and warm youthful blood, She would be as swift in motion as a ball. My words would bandy her to my sweet love, And his to me. But old folks, many feign as they were dead, Unwieldy, slow, heavy, and pale as lead” (Act 2, Scene 5). 



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