Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 2

"Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie." - Romeo over Rosaline's love- now that he has found love elsewhere with Juliet. This is not the right answer! This is found in the Act 2 Prologue, not in Act 1.

Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 2

Get your heavenly Romeo and Juliet pdf study guide.

night’s dank dew to dry” (II,iii,6)


Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the start of words in near proximity. The repetition of the ‘d’ sound in ‘dank,’ ‘dew,’ and ‘dry’ is alliterative.

To fully understand the use of alliteration in this passage, it behooves the reader to understand rhythm and meter. Meter is the standard pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables–iambic pentameter, for example. Rhythm is deviations from the standard meter. One of the ways writers create rhythm is through sound devices, like alliteration.

The alliteration in this line speeds the pace of the soliloquy, much in the same way Romeo and Juliet speed their relationship. And just as the new day hastens the end of the night, the new day hastens the end of Romeo and Juliet.

Go back to the Romeo and Juliet Friar Lawrence Literary Terms Quiz

Last Updated on May 18, 2017 by Trenton Lorcher

Share This:

Did you know?
For every order processes, we donate one book to a homeless shelter. If you'd like to support our social mission, you can order proofreading, translation, or resume writing.

Seeking examples of alliterations quotes in Romeo and Juliet? Have a look at this useful collection. In this list you'll see the moments in his famous play where Shakespeare employs this technique.

"And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels"
"As Phaëton would whip you to the west"
"Being tasted, stays all senses with the heart."
"The day to cheer and night’s dank dew to dry"
"I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins that almost freezes up the heat of life. "
"If e'er thou wast thyself, and these woes thine, thou and these woes were all for Rosaline."
"Now old desire doth in his deathbed lie"
"What early tongue so sweet saluteth me? "
"When griping griefs the heart doth wound"
"And doleful dumps the mind oppress"
"Then music with her silver sound"
"O, he’s the courageous captain of compliments."
"O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!"
"stabbed with a white wench’s black eye"
"Helen and Hero hildings and harlots"

Need help with proofreading, translation, or resume writing? Contact us.

By Jennifer Betts, B.A. , Staff Writer

Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 2

  • Alliteration Examples in Romeo and Juliet

  • DNHanlon / iStock / Getty Images Plus

  • Used under Getty Images license

Alliteration is found in a lot of texts, and William Shakespeare was a master. Explore alliteration in Romeo and Juliet to see how words weave into art.

Before jumping into alliteration in Romeo and Juliet examples, it can be helpful to look at what alliteration is. Alliteration is defined as the repetition of the first consonant sound or sounds in two or more words that follow each other in succession. These words may be immediately adjacent or separated by a few words. A simple example is:

Betty had a baby boy.

Alliteration is often found in literature and poetry because it can frame a scene beautifully. It jumps off the page and into the reader's mind, but it can also emphasize a theme. When it's time to bring an idea home, alliteration is a great way to do it. Using the works of William Shakespeare as a source to understand this literary tool is one of the finest places to start. Sit down and put your seat belt on; you're about to take a trip through examples of alliteration in Romeo and Juliet.

In each of the quotes, know that, if Shakespeare is employing this tool, it's because he had something to say. Ready to see how a master of figurative language does it?

This is an example of alliteration with the letters "f" and "l." The line starts the second quatrain of the play's prologue (which is also a sonnet) and is used to strike a notable change in subject from the feud between the two families to the fatal alliance between their children.

"From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;"

The alliteration of the "d" sound is being used to emphasize the irony that Romeo once said he'd die for his former love, Rosaline. Once she's old news, isn't it ironic that he does, in fact, go on to die for Juliet?

"Now old desire doth in his death-bed lie,"

In Act 2, Scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence has a lot to say. And he likes to use alliteration to demonstrate his points. The first sample of alliteration happens in line 3 of Friar Laurence's speech. The repetition of "d" emphasizes the uncertainty of the darkness, similar to the uncertainty of a stammering drunk.

"And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels"

These four repetitions of "d" are meant to emphasize the strength of the early morning light. (Light is a major motif within the play.)

"The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,"

The alliteration of the "s" illustrates the power of a single flower. It can stop the senses and even the heart.

"Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart."

The repeated "w" and "th" sounds add drama to the Friar's lament about how quickly Romeo has switched affections from Rosaline to Juliet.

"If e’er thou wast thyself, and these woes thine,
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline."

Juliet also has her time to shine when it comes to alliteration. The repetition of "f" is used to illustrate Juliet's desperate desire for Romeo to come to her. It also demonstrates that alliteration isn't just a repeated letter but sound with the inclusion of "Phoebus." This theme continues into the third line. Shakespeare is relying heavily on alliteration at this moment to illustrate Juliet's desperation for the sun to set.

"Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagonerAs Phaethon would whip you to the west,"

Juliet continues her use of alliteration in Act 4. The "f" sound is used three times to hype up the anticipation of Juliet's farewell to Lady Capulet and the Nurse.

"I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,That almost freezes up the heat of life:"

Alliteration is found in the "g" and "d" sounds to accentuate the power of impending depression.

"When griping grief the heart doth wound,
And doleful dumps the mind oppress,"

Alliteration is just one type of literary tool. Both assonance and consonance are related devices used by Shakespeare, as well many other poets and authors.

  • Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds inside words that are close to one another. "He looked at the wooden bookcase" is an example of assonance with the "oo" sound.
  • Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds inside words that are close to one another. The difference between consonance and alliteration is that these repeated sounds don't come at the beginning of the word. Take note of the "ck" sound in the following example: "I will clean the muck off the duck in the crock."

Alliteration and other literary tools are important to consider when you want to emphasize certain words, add to the mood of the scene or accentuate a motif. Although Shakespeare was inarguably the master of alliteration (among other types of figurative language), he wasn't the only one. Continue to savor this tasty alliterative treat with a few examples of alliteration in poems.