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Home » Shakespeare's Works » Elements » Figures of Speech » Figures of Speech by Name » Epithet


Epithet is a noun-adjective combination as a means for amplification or further description, epithets can be semantically redundant or unusual. They sometimes become nicknames. “A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life,” Romeo and Juliet, 1.P.1. Also see transferred epithet.

Epithet is an example of:

Two households, both alike in dignity

Read the Sonnet

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudgeParenthesis
break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.Antanaclesis & Synecdoche
From forth the fatal loins of these two foesAlliteration, Oxymoron & Synecdoche
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Epithet
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their deathAlliteration bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,Transferred Epithets
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,Parenthesis
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here Alliterationshall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.Parenthesis & Synecdoche