• Two contrasting characters placed in the same
• Long speech by one character to another
character on stage
• A speech by a character alone on stage
• Audience knows something the characters
• One or two lines spoken to the audience
• Comic Relief: A humorous scene, incident, or
speech that relieves the overall emotional
intensity in the play. Comic relief helps the
audience absorb the tragic events in the plot
of a play.
• Blank Verse: Unrhymed lines of iambic
pentameter. Shakespeare wrote all of his
plays in blank verse.
– Typically the presence of a character speaking in
iambic pentameter indicates that the character is
an aristocrat (upper class). Lower class characters
speak in prose.
Example of Blank Verse
~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ /
But soft.|What light| through yon|der win|dow
~ / ~ / ~ / ~~ / ~ /
It is| the east|, and Jul|iet is |the sun!
Elements of Shakespearean Tragedy
• Tragedy depicts the downfall of a noble hero
or heroine, typically royalty, usually through
some combination of hubris (pride), fate, and
the will of the gods.
• The tragic hero should have a flaw and/or
make some mistake (hamartia).
• The hero must undergo a change in fortune,
typically death, as a result of his flaw.
• Play on words
• Reference to something outside of the play;
usually another work of literature
• Two opposite words placed next to each other