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Postreading Activity for


Romeo and Juliet Language Exploration: Figurative Language and Simile Act II Like other poets, Shakespeare explores abstract ideaslike love, honor, or justicein his plays. To connect these ideas to his reader's experience, Shakespeare often compares an abstract idea to a more concrete example. When he does this, he speaks non-literally, using figurative language. As you continue to study Romeo and Juliet, you will have the opportunity to explore how Shakespeare uses language devices associated with figurative language: simile, metaphor, personification, and apostrophe. One way to do this is to compare the two different terms using either like or as. This type of comparison is called simile. We continue to use similes in our daily speech. Consider these cliches:

1993 by The Center for Applied Research in Education

F am as hungry as a Sear. Angel runs like the wind. The 'Barbarian ate like a pifl.
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In the first example, the speaker can feel her own hunger but compares her appetite to a bear's to communicate it to others. In the second example, the physical act of Angel's running becomes powerful, energetic, and effortless like the wind. Using the comparison to a pig, the Barbarian's table manners leave much to be desired. Directions: Similes are underlined in the following passages from scenes in Act II. Working in pairs, small groups, or as your teacher directs, review each passage in the context of the play and decide what the comparison suggests to the reader. While Romeo watches Juliet on her balcony (scene ii), he supposes that her eyes are stars and how they would affect the appearance of her face:
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1.

The briflhtness of her cheek would shame those stars, As dautiaht doth a lamp;

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:d Juliet: Act II Language "EfpCoratin (continued)

2.

As Romeo (scene ii) continues to watch Juliet from afar and hears her sigh:

O, speak, again, Bright anget! for thou, art AsflCoriousto this night, Being o 'er my head, As is a winged messenger of heaven. to
1993 by The Center for Applied Research in Education

3.

Juliet (scene ii) reflecting upon having fallen in love with Romeo, her family's enemy:

'What's in a name? That which we call a rose 'By any other name would smell as sweet.

4.

Juliet (scene ii) speaking to Romeo of his promise of true love:


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/ have no joy in this contract tonight. It is too rash, to unadvised, too sudden; Too like tifhtninfl, which doth cease to Be "Ere one can say it lightens.

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mpmeo and Juliet: Act II Language 'Exploration (continued)

5.

Juliet (scene ii) speaking to Romeo, wishing she could profess her love to him again and again:

Ody Bounty is as Boundless as the sea, 9dy love as deep; the more I give to thee,

1993 by The Center for Applied Research in Education

6.

Romeo (scene ii) commenting on Juliet calling him back after he's started to leave:
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It is my soul that calls upon my name. sdver-sweet sound lover's tongues By night, Like softest music to attending ears!

7.

Juliet to Romeo (scene ii):

'lis almost morning. I would have thee gone, And yet no further than a wanton's Bird, 'Who lets it hop a little from her hand, Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves.

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%pmeo andJuliet: Act II Language 'Licploration (continued)

8.

Friar Laurence (scene iii) speaking about the dawn:

And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels from forth dm's path. . .
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9.

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'But oCd folks, many fein as they were dead Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
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10.

The Nurse (scene v) complaining of her headache:


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Lord, how my head aches'. 'What a head have V. It beats as if it would fall in twenty pieces.
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1993 by The Center for Applied Research in Education

Juliet (scene v) complaining about the slowness of her Nurse in returning from meeting with Romeo:

Answer Key
Postreading Activity for Romeo and Juliet Language Exploration: Figurative Language and Simile Act II 1. The brightness of Juliet's cheek if she had stars for eyes would be brighter than daylight. 2. 3. 4. Juliet is compared to an angel, and she is more glorious to Romeo than any angel. Romeo's name is compared to a rose's name, and, indirectly, Romeo is compared to a rose. The contract is Juliet and Romeo's promises of etemallove for one another. Juliet compares their exchange of love as being as quick as lightning. Lovers' speech is compared to sweet music. Suggests that lovers will either say or believe anything. The wanton is a spoiled child. Juliet compares Romeo to a pet bird on a short leash. The bird is allowed to hop a short distance from the owner only to be pulled back like a prisoner in chains. The darkness that vanishes with the dawn is compared to a drunk. Juliet complains about the Nurse's age. To Juliet, old people move as if they were dead. The Nurse's head is compared to something breakable, perhaps an earthenware pot.

5. Juliet's love is as deep and boundless as the sea. It is unmeasurable. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10.

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