Romeo and Juliet Language Devices
From the beginning of the play, both Romeo and Juliet were destined to die. Their fates were intertwined from birth and all the events that happened prior to their meeting were leading up to their death. William Shakespear uses a number of language devices to make references to fate constantly in the play. He references the stars, the ocean and uses devices like dramatic irony to constantly foreshadow and hint at the fact of their deaths. Throughout the play, Romeo and Juliet are being pulled around like puppets, while fate toys with their love.
Throughout the entire play dreams and prophecies act as an underlying aspect. Romeo and Juliet both seem to predict their fate through their dreams, although they don’t realize that these dreams are significant it’s something that’s very obvious to the readers. In act five Romeo has a dream where he says “I dreamt that my lady came and found me dead…and breath’d such kisses in my lips, that I reviv’d and was an emperor”. This quote not only foreshadows the events that are yet to come but it’s also ironic in a sense that although it does foreshadow Juliet finding him dead in her tomb and her trying to kiss away the poison, Romeo is not able to be revived as like he said, he’s ‘fortunes fool’ and his one hope to be with Juliet and for them to be together can’t happen. I think that the word reviv’d in this quote is quite interesting as the only way possible way for them to be together is to be revived and united in death. Another dream that foreshadows later events, happens earlier on in the play when Romeo and Mercutio are about to enter the masquerade. Romeo acts troubled as he says that he had a bad dream, Mercutio trying to comfort him says that dreams are “thin of substance as the air” (which is especially not the case for Romeo whos dreams are trying to warn him about his fate). Romeo later says that attending this party will result in “untimely death”. Attending the masquerade and meeting Juliet sets off a chain reaction of events that lead him closer and closer to the untimely death that he dreamt about.
In this play, acts of god are coincidences so huge that no one other than God could have caused. In the time period of Romeo and Juliet (the 1500’s) god played a massive roll in peoples lives and god and fate seem to go hand in hand. People in that time didn’t believe in coincidences instead they believed that there was a higher force controlling the events in their life. In my opinion, one of the biggest kickstarts of Romeo and Juliet both killing themselves is when the letter wasn’t sent as Romeo believes Juliet is truly dead and hastily acts on his emotions without thinking it through. “Where the infectious pestilence did reign, sealed up the doors and would not let us forth, so that my speed to Mantua there was stayed’, this quote from the play is saying that the letter was not able to be sent, as the mailman got the plague and was put into quarantine. With the mailman getting infected with the plague it seems like God is doing everything in his power to make sure the letter isn’t sent, therefore starting the domino effect which finishes with their deaths. Another event that can not be explained except for being an act of God is when Peter, not being able to read the invitation to the masquerade, out of everyone living in Verona, sees Romeo and Benvolio first and asks for their help reading the invitation. Without Peter asking Romeo for help reading the invitation Romeo would have never attended the masquerade and would have never fallen in love with Juliet.
Dramatic irony is a tool that Shakespeare uses constantly in the play. Dramatic irony is when the characters say something that they think is just a normal statement when in fact the readers can clearly tell that they’re foreshadowing a later event. The fate of both Romeo and Juliet are determined right from the start of the play in the prologue. Having the main events of the play already given to us, when we go on to actually reading the story there are things that we as readers notice although the characters do not. In Act 1 Scene 5 at the Capulets masquerade… Juliet, while talking to the nurse about Romeo says “if he be married my grave is like to be my wedding bed”, this quote is highly ironic because at that moment Juliet was dramatizing her feelings, without realising that in fact him not being married was a bad thing for her as it leads to both of them falling in love and quite literally Juliet’s grave being her wedding bed. “Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing”, this quote was one that really stuck out to me because although she didn’t really understand the full extent of what she was saying to Romeo, this quote is what ends up happening. In this scene, Juliet’s on the balcony talking to Romeo. She intends to say that she’d love him so much that he’d die under all her love, not realizing that in fact the sheer amount of love she has for Romeo pushes her to do crazy and irrational things, pushing her closer and closer to her destiny to die. As a result of Juliet doing these things in the name of her love for Romeo, Romeo ends up dying under the weight of Juliet’s love.
To sum it up, Shakespear uses a number of language devices so that the readers are able to pick up and understand the deeper meaning of what the characters say. To the characters, it may seem like a normal piece of dialogue that they’re saying but with the language devices, we are able to see how it directly relates to Romeo and Juliet’s fate. In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare manages to covey situations that could happen in real life, except he dramatizes and puts more of a flare into them. Without the language devices that Shakespear weaves into the play, the play would not have a sense of suspense or draw as much emotion out of the readers.