quotes, notes, timelines & more

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

Rhetorical Question

A rhetorical question is one whose answer is so obvious that neither the speaker nor the listener is not expected. “For who so firm that cannot be seduc'd?” Julius Caesar, 1.2.320. Also see rogatio.

Rhetorical Question is an example of:
Omission, Substitution

Characters, Actors and Figurative Language

Read the Note

Early in Henry VIII, Anne Bullen, young and beautiful, considers the prospect of a prosperous future. In the same scene, Anne’s companion, the old lady, sardonically remarks on her lost youth and unfulfilled aspirations for wealth and position at court. The contrast of these two characters is clear, but Shakespeare uses more than casting, makeup, costumes, or even the subject matter of their opening dialogue,
… continue reading this note

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Read the Sonnet

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?Rhetorical Question
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,Metaphor & Hyperbaton
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
… continue reading this quote

O, for a muse of fire

Read the Quote

O, for a muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!Metaphor

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!Anapodoton

Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 1
Scene Prologue
Line 1

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:

Figures of Speech:
, , , , , ,

Noble patricians, patrons of my right, Defend the justice of my cause with arms

Read the Quote

 Saturninus and his followers at one door, and
 Bassianus and his followers at another door, with
 other Romans, Drums, and Trumpets.
Saturninus
Noble patricians, patrons of my right,
Defend the justice of my cause with arms.
And countrymen, my loving followers,
Plead my successive title with your swords.
I am his firstborn son that was the last
That wore the imperial diadem of Rome.
… continue reading this quote

Little Helen, farewell

Read the Quote

Parolles
Little Helen, farewell. If I can remember
thee, I will think of thee at court.
Helen
Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a
charitable star.
Parolles
Under Mars, I.Hyperbaton & Ellipsis
Helen
I especially think under Mars.

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
… continue reading this quote

But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son

Read the Quote

King
But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son—
Hamlet, aside
A little more than kin and less than kind.Paronomasia
King
How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet
Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.

… continue reading this quote

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world

Read the Quote

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.Adynaton & Simile

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Men at some time are masters of their fates;
… continue reading this quote

Well, Brutus, thou art noble

Read the Quote

Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see
Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
From that it is dispos’d; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduc’d?Rhetorical Question and Ellipsis
Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 320

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
,

Kneel not, gentle Portia

Read the Quote

Brutus
Kneel not, gentle Portia.
Portia
I should not need, if you were gentle Brutus.Antanaclesis

Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
To keep with you at meals,

… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 2
Scene 1
Line 300

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Themes:

Figures of Speech:
, , , , , ,

Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown

Read the Quote

Ay, ay, Antipholus, look strange and frown.
Some other mistress hath thy sweet aspects.
I am not Adriana, nor thy wife.The time was onceHyperbaton when thou unurged wouldst vowAnastrophe
That never words were music to thine ear,
That never object pleasing in thine eye,
That never touch well welcome to thy hand,

… continue reading this quote

You bear a gentle mind, and heav’nly blessings

Read the Quote

Chamberlain
You bear a gentle mindSynecdoche, and heav’nly blessings
Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note’s
Ta’en of your many virtues, the King’s Majesty
Commends his good opinion of you to you, and
Does purpose honor to youAnthimeria no less flowing
Than Marchioness of Pembroke,
… continue reading this quote