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Literary and Dramatic Conventions in Romeo and Juliet

Antagonist
The character who works against the protagonist

Protagonist
The main character in a story

*Image/ imagery
A word picture that uses descriptive language to create a mental image
Example: “With tears augmenting the fresh morning dew…..” (Act I: Scene I: lines 118-119)

Symbolism
A concrete object that represents an abstract idea. (like Cupid)

Foreshadowing
A literary device where the author hints what will happen in the future. (when romeo has a dream about his own death, when Juliet remarks how she will die if she finds out Romeo is married)

Motif
A reoccurring image that sometimes functions as a theme. (like stars, death, day/night, dark/light)

*oxymoron
A figure of speech involving contrasting terms used together/ side by side.
Example: “Why, then, O brawling love, O loving hate…” (Act I: Scene I: lines164-165). “Sick Health” “cold fire”

*pun
A play on words that involves the sound and meaning of a word
Example: “We’ll measure then a measure….” (Act I: Scene 4: lines 9-10)

*paradox
A statement where two opposite things seem to be true at the same time.
Example: “Alas, that love, so gentle in his view….” (Act I: Scene I: lines 157-158)

allusion
A figure of speech that references a famous person, place, event, or literary work- Reader is expected to know it. (like cupid, Reference to Aurora and Diana)

*blank verse
unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter
Example: “And pity ’tis….” (Act I: Scene 2: lines 5-6)

*iamb/ iambic foot
An iamb is a pattern or pair of syllables of unstressed and then a stressed syllable. A foot is one of the [unstressed, stressed]
Example: “Not mad” “without” (Act I: Scene 2: lines 55-56)

*iambic pentameter
When each line has five iambs (10 syllables) of unstressed stressed syllables- sonnets use them
Example: “Enough of this; I pray thee, hold thy peace.” (Act 1: Scene 3: line 54)

simile
A comparison using like, as, or seems.
Example: “Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper” (Act 1, Scene 4, line 6)

Metaphor
A direct comparison without using like, as, or seems- (something IS something)
Example: “love is a smoke raised with the fumes of sighs;” (Act 1, Scene 1, 180)

Personification
When an inanimate object is given human characteristics/traits
Example: “Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie” (Act 2 prologue)

tragedy
a story with human conflict with an unhappy ending (usually death), especially one having to do with the main character

Subtext
The underlying meaning of a literary work- it is implied, never announced.

*prologue
an introduction that summarizes the who, what, when, and where of the story
Example: “Two households….” See front of book

soliloquy
A long speech where a character speaks their thoughts out loud (talks to themselves) when they are alone, or thinks they are along, on stage
Example: Friar Laurence’s Speech when he is collecting herbs in Act 2.

monologue
A long speech given by a single actor in a play
example: Mercutio’s Lady Mab speech

*aside
when one actor says something to the other actor that the audience hears but not the others on stage
Example: “[aside to Gregory] Is the law on our side…” (Act I: Scene I: line 38)

dramatic irony
Occurs when the audience knows more than the characters
Example: when Friar Laurence and Mercutio think that Romeo is still in love with Rosaline

verbal irony
Occurs when the speaker means something different that what is said

*enjambment
The continuation of one line in a verse to the next- when one line in the verse doesn’t have any end punctuation
Example: “That quench the fire of you pernicious rage With purple fountains….” (Act I: Scene I: lines 70-71)

Tragic flaw
In a tragedy, the flaw or character defect that brings the downfall of the protagonist

Tragic hero
The main character/protagonist in a tragedy

Comic Relief
When a humorous character or scene in a tragedy is included to relieve tension.

foil
a character who acts differently and contrasts another character in order to highlight specific traits and qualities in the other character.

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