Use of Poetry in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
The use of poetry is a way in which people can express themselves in speaking or writing in a creative and meaningful way. In the film Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams, a man who is a teacher helps extend his students’ minds; he also implements their right to bold acts of love for life and poetry, while refuting society. There is a very strong use of poetry in William Shakespeare’s literary work The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Throughout this whole entire work the instances involving different kinds of poetry use are almost countless. The three most common examples of the use of poetry in this literary work are rhymes, rhythm, and sonnets. One of the more challenging aspects of catching certain types poetry use is rhymes because of the numerous ways in which this literary device can be used.
Rhymes are the repetition of accented vowel sounds in words that are close together in a poem. The use of rhymes in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is plentiful and strategically smart. There are many ways and forms in which rhymes are used in this story. The first way in which it is used is through couplets. Couplets are two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme. William Shakespeare’s use of couplets throughout The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet can be found on almost every page and they can definitely catch one’s eye. Next are rhyme schemes used in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. A great example of the use of rhyme schemes is near or slant rhymes. A near rhyme is a rhyme in which the sounds are similar, but not exact. A great example of the use of a near rhyme in rhymes can be found in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in Act III, Scene 5, on lines 54-55. In this scene, where Juliet finds that her parents are getting her married to Paris and Romeo shows up unexpected at the Capulet house, Juliet says to Romeo, “O God, I have and ill-divining soul! Methinks I see thee, now thou art so low(3,5,54-55).” Lastly is the use of end rhymes in this work. End rhymes are rhymes in which the end of two or more words sound alike. Once again, the use of rhymes such as end rhymes can be found many times throughout The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. So as one can see, rhymes play a big part in the use of poetry. Along with the importance of rhymes in the use of poetry also comes rhythm.
The next aspect of the use of poetry in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is rhythm. Rhythm is the musical quality in language produced by repetition. The first example of the use of rhythm is the way in which the Capulets, mainly Lady Capulet, speak. Lady Capulet speaks with great rhythm and seeks purpose. To also add on to this she has many lines throughout the whole work, so her tone of rhythm can be easily identified. The next example of rhythm in the use of poetry is the manner in which the Nurse speaks. In the Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet the Nurse is more of a mother-like figure to Juliet because of all the situations she helps her with and also all of the wonderful advice she gives Juliet. A great example of this is in Act 1, Scene 3, lines 59-62. In this scene, where Juliet, Lady Capulet, and the Nurse are talking about Juliet’s age and a possible marriage, the Nurse says, “Peace, I have done. God mark thee to his grace! Thou wast the prettiest babe that e’er I nursed. And I might live to see thee married once, I have my wish(1,3,59-62).” Last is the rhythm which Romeo speaks with. Throughout this whole story, Romeo speaks with much caring love and compassion. This is most effectively shown when he is talking to his love, Juliet. Rhythm in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet helps to maintain and balance consistently varying feeling and mood in the story. Finally, besides rhymes and rhythm in the use of poetry in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, are sonnets.
This last facet in the use of poetry, sonnets, is truly effort-filled considering the extensive length which it contains. A sonnet is a 14 line lyric poem that is usually written in iambic pentameter. One of the types of sonnets is Shakespearean or English. This type of sonnet consists of 3 quatrains plus a couplet and has the rhyme scheme of: abab cdcd efef gg. The name of this type of sonnet pretty much says it all; it is almost guaranteed to find this type of sonnet throughout the story. The next example of sonnets in the use of poetry is the prologue to The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. This 14 lined sonnet carries much importance and is a great way to dive into the story comfortably. The prologue is as follows:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-marked love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
The last example of sonnets in the use of poetry is the chorus. A chorus is usually a type of sonnet that sets the mood for the act. A chorus, in the case of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, always starts off an act.
The use of sonnets is just another example of how creative William Shakespeare is in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare is one of the most accomplished and skillful rhetoricians of all time. Through these three main uses of poetry, rhymes, rhythm, and sonnets, he was able to create a touching and very admirable work of art. The use of poetry can be used in more than writing, but also in everyday life. It is an artistic aspect of great meaning and tradition that can change anything from bland dullness to extravagancy.