Tag Archives: Literature Unit 3 controlled assessment

Dramatic irony

When Mr Birling gives his speech on war and the Titanic in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, the audience knows he is wrong. We know more than the character on the stage. Likewise, when Romeo visits Juliet and finds her ‘dead’ in the Capulet tomb, the audience knows she isn’t really dead. Again, we know more than the character does. This is dramatic irony, which creates tension for the audience. Many other stage plays use this feature (think about Hamlet and the poisoned sword and drink at the end of the play).

Christopher Warner explains it in this TED video:

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Romeo’s ‘But soft…’ soliloquy word cloud

Romeo's soliloquy Wordle

Romeo’s soliloquy Wordle

I put Romeo’s soliloquy from Act 2 Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet into Wordle to see if there are any patterns in the language. Wordle takes the text you enter and creates a word cloud, which gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Can you make any links between the words that are more prominent? Does the language come from any particular semantic field(s)?

semantic field = a set of words grouped by their meaning all referring to a specific subject. (For example, the semantic field of the subject ‘football’ would include the words: ‘offside’, ‘striker’, ‘backheel’, etc.)

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RSC performance notes on Romeo’s soliloquy, Act 2 Scene 2

Click here for a copy of Romeo’s ‘But soft…’ soliloquy from Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, complete with performance notes from the Royal Shakespeare Company. These were produced as part of the BBC’s Off By Heart – Shakespeare programme and are very helpful in exploring Romeo’s feelings during the scene.

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Another discussion on Romeo’s soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 2

in this video, Royal Shakespeare Company actor Adrian Lester discusses Act 2 Scene 2 with an actor preparing to play Romeo in a modern youth production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He begins by talking about Act 1 Scene 5 and the discussion and performance of Romeo’s ‘But soft…’ soliloquy is in the second half of the video. 

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Actor/rapper Ashley Walters on Romeo’s soliloquy, Act 2 Scene 2

Here are some videos of actor and So Solid Crew rapper Ashley Walters (Asher D) performing Romeo’s soliloquy from Act 2 Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet. In the second video, he discusses his interpretation of the character and the speech, and touches on the use of language and how comparisons and metaphors show Romeo’s feelings.

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RSC workshop and performance of Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2

Here are a couple of great videos on Romeo’s soliloquy from Act 2 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. They are from the world’s foremost Shakespearean theatre group, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). The first video is a performance of the scene, where Romeo steals into the Capulet garden to find Juliet on her bedroom balcony, talking to herself.

The second video is a workshop in which actor Sam Troughton and assistant director Michael Fentiman explore Romeo’s language and how Juliet is compared to sources of light and an angel.

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