Example in Hamlet
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Literary Terms BY LAUREN NOLAN
Imagery Imagery is an author’s use of vivid and descriptive language
to add depth to their work. Example: A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake,
beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze. continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky Way- “Daffodils” William Wordsworth Example in Hamlet O, that this too too solid flesh would
melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew. Act I scene ii
Simile A simile is a comparison of two things using words such as
“like” or “as”. Example: “She floats down the aisle like a pageant queen”
“Speak Now”- Taylor Swift Example in Hamlet: "Make thy two eyes, like stars, start
from their spheres” Act II scene ii
Metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase
is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance. Example: “Love is a Temple” “One” by U2 Example in Hamlet: "This is th' impostume of much
wealth and peace, that inward breaks and shows no cause without why the man dies.” Act IV scene iv
Personification Personification is the attribution of human nature or
character to inanimate objects.
Example: “Pocketful of sunshine” Natasha Bedingfield-
“Pocketful of Sunshine” Example in Hamlet: So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it
spills itself in fearing to be spilt. Act IV scene iii
Apostrophe Apostrophe is the addressing of a usually absent person or
a usually personified thing rhetorically.
Example: Tom Hanks referring to the volleyball, an
inanimate object, in the movie Castaway. Example in Hamlet: “Let me not think on’t; frailty, thy
name is women” Act I scene ii
Symbol A symbol is an action, object, or event that expresses or
represents a particular idea or quality.
Example: The green light in The Great Gatsby symbolizes
new life. Example in Hamlet: Yorick’s skull in Act V scene i. The
skull is a symbol of death, an important motif throughout the play.
Allegory Allegory is a story in which the characters and events are
symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation. Example: The Truman Show is an example of allegory.
Truman makes the decision to get out of the town and not be tied to their private system of merchant law. Example in Hamlet: The ghost in Act I represents
Hamlet’s father and forces Hamlet to think about death more in depth.
Paradox A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself
and yet might be true.
Example: “Everyone can be super. And when everyone’s
super…no one will be” The Incredibles
Example in Hamlet: “You are the queen, your husband’s
brother’s wife.” Act III scene iv
Hyperbole Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device
or figure of speech.
Example: "It seems to me you lived your life like a candle
in the wind” "Candle In the Wind" Elton John
Example in Hamlet: “O that this too too solid flesh
would melt, thaw and resolve into a dew.” Act I scene ii
Understatement An understatement is the presentation of something as
being smaller, worse, or less important than it actually is.
Example: “Cannibalism is frowned upon in most
societies.” 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Example in Hamlet: “With such dexterity to incestuous
sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good” Act I scene ii
Irony Irony is a situation that is strange or funny because things
happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected. Example: “It's like rain on your weddin' day It's a free ride
when you've already paid. It's the good advice that you just didn't take, And who would've thought, it figures” ‘Ironic’ Alanis Morissette Example in Hamlet: “I am too much in the sun.” Act I
Chiasmus Chiasmus is the figure of speech in which two or more
clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a lager point. Example: “Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the
sweaty things.” - Jacquelyn Small. Example in Hamlet: “Whether love lead to fortune, or
else fortune love.” Act IV scene iii “To be or not to be” Act III scene i
Metonymy Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept
is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept. Example: Referring to royalty as the “crown” is an
example of metonymy. Example in Hamlet: “I saw him enter such a house of
sale.” Act II scene ii
Synecdoche Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a term for a part
of something to the whole of something or vice-versa.
Example: “Our song is a slamming screen door, sneaking
out late.” ‘Our Song’ Taylor Swift Example in Hamlet: "So the whole ear of Denmark Is by
a forged process of my death Rankly abused." (ear stands for Denmark), Act I, scene v,
Repartee Repartee is a conversation or speech characterized by
quick, witty comments or replies.
Example in Hamlet: “One.” “No.” “Judgment.” “A hit, a
very palpable hit.” “Well again.”
Stichomythia Stichomythia is a dialogue in which two characters speak
alternate lines of verse, used as a stylistic device in ancient Greek drama.
Example in Hamlet: “Come, come, you answer with an
idle tongue.” “Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.” Act III scene iv
Stock Characters A stock character is someone based on common literary or
social stereotypes. Example: An example of a stock character is the school
diva, this is Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. Example in Hamlet: Polonius is a stock character. He
represents the older man with former wisdom, and unknowingly through his failures provides comic relief.
Alliteration Alliteration is repetition of a particular sound in the
stressed syllables of a series of words or phrases.
Example: Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Example in Hamlet: "With witchcraft of his wit, with
traitorous gifts” Act I scene v
Assonance Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds to create
internal rhyming within phrases or sentences Example: "I feel the need, the need for speed.” Top Gun Example in Hamlet: “For in that sleep of death, what
dreams may come” Act I scene i
Consonance Consonance is the repetition of the same consonant two or
more times in short succession. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Example in Hamlet: “Thou wretched, rash, intruding
fool, farewell.” Act III scene iv
Rhyme Rhyme is correspondence of sound between words or the
endings of words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry. Example: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Humpty
Dumpty had a great fall” Example in Hamlet: “The play's the thing Wherein I'll catch the conscious of the King.” Act II scene ii
Rhythm Rhythm is a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement
or sound. Example: In songs, the rhythm is the beat. Example in Hamlet: Hamlet is written in iambic
pentameter, which gives it rhythm
Meter Meter is an arranged and measured rhythm in verse:
rhythm that continuously repeats a single basic pattern.
Example in Hamlet: O that this too too solid flesh would
melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ’gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!” Act II scene ii
End-Stopped Line End-stopped line is a feature in poetry in which the
syntactic unit corresponds in length to the line. Example: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 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.” Sonnet 18
Example in Hamlet: “Without the which we are pictures,
or mere beasts” Act IV scene v
Run-On Line Run-on line is when there is no punctuation at the end of
the line. Example in Hamlet: “Will nothing stick our person to
arraign” Act IV scene v
Caesura Caesura is a complete pause in a line of poetry or in musical
composition. Example: To err is human; || to forgive, divine ~ Alexander Pope Example in Hamlet: 'To Be, or Not To Be..." Act III
Free Verse Free verse is an open form of poetry, it does not use consistent
meter patterns or rhyme or any other musical pattern.
Example: Some kind of attraction that is neither Animal, vegetable, nor mineral, a power not Solar, fusion, or magnetic And it is all in my head that I could see into his And find myself sitting there. ‘Feelings Now’ Katherine Foreman
Example in Hamlet: "Indeed this counselor / Is now most
still, most secret, and most grave, / Who was in life a foolish prating knave” Act III, Scene 4
Iambic Pentameter Iambic Pentameter is the particular rhythm that the words
establish in that line.
Example: “But, soft! what light through yonder window
breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun” Romeo and Juliet.
Example in Hamlet: “How noble in reason! how infinite
in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?” Act II scene ii
Grammatical/Rhetorical Pauses A grammatical pause is introduced by s mark of
punctuation and rhetorical pauses are natural pauses.
Example in Hamlet: “To be or not to be: that is the
question: whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer” Act III scene i
Concluding Couplet Concluding couplet is a pair of end-rhymed lines of verse Example in Hamlet: “Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.” Act I.ii