In act 3 scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare uses tragic irony in order to reinforce the tragic side of the play.
Shakespeare uses sound devices such as consonance and assonance to reveal the tragic side of the story. The repetition of vowels and consonance shows the excited mood Juliet is in, which only reinforces the tragic irony in the play. Juliet speaks highly of Romeo, and the first 9 sentences where most of the consonance and assonance are show the true impatience Juliet feels to lose her virginity to Romeo. The tragic irony in this is that Romeo has just committed a crime: he killed Tibalt and Juliet doesn’t know that yet. She believes that they will both lose their innocence to each other, while in fact, Romeo already lost his innocence by killing someone. In this passage, she compares herself to Cupid, with Romeo as her ‘target’. Shakespeare used sound devices this way as it creates an even bigger sense of tragedy as she becomes vulnerable by exposing her love to Romeo, but the audience knows that Romeo just killed someone. The audience knows that Romeo is not as pure as she thinks he is and that their love story will end badly.
Shakespeare uses figurative language and imagery when describing Night which creates a problematic metaphor and reinforces the tragic irony in this passage. Night is described by Juliet in a way that is not compatible with what Juliet is asking it to teach her. She describes Night as a “sober-suited matron” (l.11) dressed “all in black” (l.11) but at the same time, asks it to teach her how to “lose a winning match” (l.12); asks it to teach her how to make love. Juliet describes Night as a woman dressed for a funeral, but still request from it to teach her how to be intimate, which is a paradox: asking death how to make love. This is a tragic request as even in the peak moment of excitement of the play, death is present in two different ways: Romeo killed someone and she doesn’t know about it, and she asks a death-like spirit to teach her how to be intimate. Shakespeare wrote the passage this way to show how of a coincidence it is that she asks Night, which is associated with death to teach her how to love; and that at the same time, Romeo commits a crime which reinforces the tragedy in the play.
Shakespeare uses mood in an interesting way, which introduces the tragic ending of the play. Juliet in the first sentences shares her excitement with the reader, but the whole mood of the passage seems dark and tragic. Juliet compares herself to an excited child that is waiting to put on its new clothes, but then talks about what she wants to happen to her body if she were to die. The mood juxtaposes Juliet’s excitement, with the sad, dark and tragic reality that Romeo will not lose his innocence to her, that Romeo killed someone and that their love story is going to end badly. This is tragic irony because the reader knows what’s going to happen and can feel in the passage how the dark mood connects with the future events. It also exposes Juliet’s naïve mind as well as her innocence as she cannot even imagine that Romeo could have just killed someone, and thinks that Romeo’s name speaks “heavenly eloquence” (l.33).