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Transcript
Shakespeare Pre-Reading for Romeo & Juliet
SHAKESPEARE’S LANGUAGE
SHAKESPEARE’S SENTENCES

In an English sentence, meaning is dependent on
the place given each word. Shakespeare
frequently shifts his sentences away from
“normal” English arrangements—often in order to
create:
The rhythm he seeks
 To use a line’s poetic rhythm to emphasize a particular
word
 To give a character his or her own speech patterns
 To allow the character to speak in a special way

SHAKESPEARE’S SENTENCES CONTINUED

Shakespeare often places the verb before the
subject.
Instead of “He goes,” we find “Goes he”.

Shakespeare also places the object before the
subject and verb.
Instead of “I hit him,” we might find “Hit him I”.

In order to create sentences more like the English
of everyday speech, one can rearrange the words
in familiar order.
SHAKESPEARE’S SENTENCES & ROMEO & JULIET

In Romeo & Juliet, as in other Shakespeare plays,
sentences are sometimes complicated not
because of unusual structures but because
Shakespeare omits words and parts of words that
English sentences normally require.
Example: In conversation, we, too, often omit words.
We say, “Heard from him yet?” and our hearer supplies
the missing “Have you.”
 Example from Romeo & Juliet: The character Montague
asks “were you by?” instead of “were you nearby?”

SHAKESPEAREAN WORDPLAY





In Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare uses a ton of puns,
metaphors, and oxymorons.
A pun is a play on words that have more than one
meaning.
A metaphor is the comparison between two seemingly
unlike things.
An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently
contradictory terms appear in conjunction.
Note: We will stop periodically throughout the play as
examples of puns, metaphors, and oxymorons arise.
SOME FACTS…
Shakespeare is considered a genius. He wrote
37 plays in approximately 21 years and is
believed to have coined over 1,000 words and
phrases, many of which are still in use today.
 Shakespeare’s language is difficult to
understand, however, once readers learn to
recognize his techniques the meaning behind
the words begin to shine through.
