30th May 2018

Shakespeare Essay

Shakespear one of the most internationally renowned playwrights in the world. Romeo and Juliet his most famous play, A story of love and despair that takes place in a small town called Verona. The two young lovers meet among the mist of hate between the families and from there the plot unfolds. The idea of fate runs subtly in swift undercurrents throughout Shakespeare.  But how you may ask does Shakespeare explore the idea of fate with only language and literary devices. I will be going over that in this essay. Explaining three of his ways, Metaphors, using the prologue and dramatic irony.


A metaphor is a powerful literary device when used correctly and Shakespeare definitely knew his stuff when it came to metaphors. He competently used many metaphors to express ideas of fate in his essay. In some cases, he even managed to turn some of his metaphors into a sort of motif, recurring theme’s that ran throughout the majority of the play. This is most obviously shown in the ‘boat and sea’ metaphor first shown in dialogue from Romeo “…… he that hath the steerage of my course direct my sail….” the metaphor is a reference to Romeo being a small sailing boat adrift in the sea with no control and God/Fate being the towering waves that are throwing him around. The metaphor end’s when the “sea” smashes the “boat” onto the “rocks”. Another metaphor that shows Shakespeare’s high level of competency is the ‘storm’ metaphor Romeo compares his emotions to a storm building up before and after he kills Tybalt. While the sky opens up and it starts to rain and hail. Using metaphor Shakespeare definitely put a sense of fate in Romeo and Juliet Personally I think his “Metaphor Motifs” are pretty cool and a far more subtle way to get an idea fate across rather than shoving it straight in our faces.


Prologue “a piece of text either used to explain an event that has happened before the story takes place, or to explain what happens in the story” thanks Mr. Internet for that definition. Shakespeare I believe used his prologue to do a mix of these two things thanks, Mr. Brain. Shakespeare used his prologue again to create an idea of fate, by both telling us some backstory “……two household both alike in dignity…..”     “……from ancient grudge break to new mutiny…..” but also to explain the end of the play. However, I will only be looking deeper at two aspects of the prologue that stronger than others show the fate. The first is the line “a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” this is saying that Romeo and Juliet end there lives but there is also a hidden meaning here the word star-crossed metaphorically mean’s that the starts(fate) are against them. The second piece is, in fact, the whole prologue itself it creates a sense of fate by telling us what happen’s at the end of the play. Which means we know that Romeo and Juliet die creating an expectant sense that they will die in the end. Without this several other language devices would be harder to use i.e(dramatic irony and foreshadowing). The prologue is an interesting way of showing fate due to the fact that can completely change the way you look at a play and I feel the sense of fate this prologue gave us made me look at the play in a light that would otherwise be impossible to see and helped me understand certain views and characters better.


Dramatic irony a wonderful and subtle language device.  To have dramatic irony is to be in a situation where the readers/watchers that the people in the script this is a device still used commonly today in writing. Examples of this are spread thickly throughout Romeo and Juliet. One of the most notable times is a line delivered by a very distressed Lady Capulet to Juliet “..I would rather the fool were married to her grave”  of course we already know that Juliet die’s due to the prologue. The dramatic irony here is hard not to notice. She tells her daughter she would she dies than marry Paris and we know that Juliet has already married Romeo and that she will, in fact, die. The next example is spoken by Frair Lawrence to Romeo “….for this alliance may so prove happy prove to turn your households rancor to pure love.” we know again from the prologue that the families do unite in the end -at Juliet and Romeo’s grave-thanks to Frair Lawrence presence to tell the story. Whereas the characters do not know this will happen. Dramatic irony can really add a lot to a play I believe it makes a person feel intelligent to know something that others don’t and this is a great way that a playwright can make a man/women happy is to make them feel intelligent.



So how does Shakespeare express the idea of fate in Romeo and Juliet? Using language devices metaphor, the prologue, and dramatic irony and many more devices(foreshadowing, Iambic pentameter)I simply haven’t had the time to discuss. But it isn’t arguable he definitely has his ways of letting us know fate is playing a hand. I believe that Shakespeare fully meant every inked line he wrote. I wonder why he wrote using so many different language devices just to express one idea maybe he wanted something for students to study in the future maybe he was just a substantial genius whatever the answer, the facts are solid Romeo and Juliet is a truly amazing example of using literary and language devices to subtly feed a reader an idea.







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