Metaphor in Romeo and Juliet Act 1

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  • 0:22 Prince Escalus
  • 0:46 Benvolio
  • 1:09 Lady Capulet
  • 1:22 Mercutio
  • 1:38 Romeo
  • 2:46 Romeo and Juliet
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natarielle Powell
This lesson is a summary of the metaphors in Act 1 of Shakespeare's ''Romeo and Juliet''. Read on to learn more about the many comparisons made in this very interesting act.

What Is a Metaphor?

In the first act of Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet, one of the literary devices used a lot is the metaphor. A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words 'like' or 'as'. Using those words would give you a simile.

Act 1 has several metaphors, and some of them aren't that pretty. Let's take a look at who used comparisons in this act.

Prince Escalus

In Scene 1, Prince Escalus compares the fighting Capulets and Montagues to beasts, saying that they quench the fire of their harmful rage with blood. Their arguing in the street reminds him of the way that animals behave. The fact that he refers to them as beasts takes it a step further because a beast seems more brutal and ferocious than a regular animal.


In Scene 2, Benvolio compares Rosaline to a swan and a crow. Benvolio admits that to Romeo, she is a beautiful and graceful swan but contends that Romeo only sees her this way because he has not considered other girls. Once he does, Benvolio suggests that the beauty of the other girls will make Rosaline look like a totally different bird: an unattractive crow.

Lady Capulet

In Scene 3, Lady Capulet compares a beautiful woman to a cover or a wrapper for an object. She uses this comparison when she is talking to Juliet about marriage saying that the woman surrounds the man with her beauty.


In Scene 4, Mercutio compares pulling Romeo out of his funk to pulling a horse out of the mud. The difficulty of this situation is primarily because of the animal's weight. Being lovesick has given Romeo a heavy heart.

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