Imagery is the use of descriptive language to create an image in the minds of the readers.  Shakespeare uses many kinds of images in his play.  Here are 4 kinds of imagery we find frequently in Romeo and Juliet:

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Metaphor: describing something by comparing it to something else without the

use of “like” or “as”

e.g. “My love is a red, red rose”  The speaker isn’t in love with a flower,

but is comparing the beauty of his love to a red rose.

Simile: describing something by comparing it to something else using “like” or

“as” e.g. “My love is like a red, red rose” The speaker is saying his love is as

beautiful as a red rose

Personification: giving some inanimate (not living) object human abilities and

qualities

e.g. “The trees reached their arms toward the sky”

Oxymoron: using contrasting, contradictory ideas to describe something.  We

saw many examples of this when we first met Romeo in Act 1.

Classical allusion: a reference to a person, place or event from myth.

Shakespeare uses both Greek and Roman mythological references.

e.g. references to being hit with Cupid’s arrow in Act 1

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English Literary Terms & Definitions
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