Romeo and Juliet: A Guide to the Play

By Jay L. Halio | Go to book overview

5
LANGUAGE

In the plays written before Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare had already feasted on the banquets the English language afforded, especially in Love's Labour's Lost ( 1595), but his appetite (to paraphrase Enobarbus on Cleopatra's effect) seemed to grow by what it fed on. Throughout his career, as many commentators have remarked, he constantly pushed the resources of his primary medium--words--to their utmost boundary, both in verse and in prose. Romeo and Juliet is one of the best examples of how he adapted English drama to the love poetry of his time and place, particularly the kind of poetry he had already developed and continued to develop in his long erotic narrative poems, Venus and Adonis ( 1593) and The Rape of Lucrece ( 1594), and in his sequence of sonnets, which circulated among his friends but was not published until 1609.


VERSE

As if to prepare his audience for part of what was to come, Shakespeare began Romeo and Juliet with a sonnet-speaking Chorus, or Prologue, using the form he had also used for his sonnet sequence, rather than the Italian form Petrarch used; that is, three quatrains followed by a couplet, instead of an octet rhyming abba abba, followed by a sestet. 1 Petrarch, however, is otherwise much in evidence, especially in the first half of the play. Romeo's infatuation with Rosaline inspires the purest Petrarch, moving Mercutio to salute him with "Now is he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in" (2.4.34). Although by then the taunt is no longer relevant, Mercutio does not know this; he is reacting to the Romeo who, in his first dialogue with Benvolio, unabashedly apes the Petrarchan "numbers." His lines there typify the conventional lover's versifying, complaining of the treatment by his Cruel Mistress:

-47-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Romeo and Juliet: A Guide to the Play
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Textual History 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Contexts and Sources 13
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Dramatic Structure 21
  • Notes 28
  • 4 - Characters 31
  • Notes 43
  • 5 - Language 47
  • Notes 61
  • 6 - Themes 65
  • Notes 77
  • 7 - Critical Approaches 81
  • Notes 95
  • 8 - The Play in Performance 97
  • Notes 116
  • Selected Bibliography 123
  • Index 129
  • About the Author 135
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 138

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.