A dramatic foil is a character that sets off another character by contrast. Having many characters with ranging personalities, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet depicts this literary element a number of times.
One example of this is the Nurse as a foil to Juliet in Act 1, scene 3. In this scene Juliet is toying with the thought of getting married and the Nurse is making vulgar jokes and embarrassing Juliet. Juliet has been cared for by the Nurse her entire life, so the Nurse is included in her affair with Romeo. The Nurse shows foil because she is blunt and has an earthly and sexual view of love. Her personality contrasts Juliet’s who is soft-spoken and has an idealistic view of love.
Another example is Romeo being a dramatic foil to Benvolio in Act 1, scene 1. In this scene Romeo is trying to figure out how to get Rosaline off his mind. In doing this he shows that he is a lover not a fighter. Benvolio resolves to find a way to get Rosaline off Romeo’s mind, showing he is a fighter and tries to remain positive whereas Romeo sometimes lets love get the best of him.
Mercutio is a dramatic foil to Romeo in a couple scenes. In Act 1, scene 4, they are on their way to the Capulet’s ball and Mercutio is making fun of Romeo and telling him about Queen Mab, of the faries who visits people’s dreams. This scene depicts Mercutio as a outgoing and easy-going spirit while it shows Romeo as a serious person.
One last example of foil is Friar Lawrence being a foil to Romeo. Friar Lawrence is a Franciscan friar but also a Catholic holy man. By him being a holy man it gives him the power to marry Romeo and Juliet as we see in Act 2, scene 2-3. Although he weds the couple, you see dramatic foil when Romeo and Juliet try to rush into things but he’s trying to get them to slow down and not take this decision lightly.
The use of dramatic foil complicates but adds a special touch to tell you about the characters in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The...