A poetic line with six iambic feet. Often used in classical tragedies.
(ex. John Keats' "The Eve of St. Agnes")
A story with two meanings (one literal and one symbolic) which usually contains abstract characters, actions, or settings. Oftentimes, names of characters may be symbolic (Death, Hope, Beauty...)
(ex. John Bunyan 's "The Pilgrim's Progress" and George Orwell's "Animal Farm")
The repetition of consonants sounds, usually at the beginnings of words. Initial alliteration occurs at the beginning of words, whereas internal or hidden alliteration occurs within words. Most alliteration occurs on stressed syllables. Alliteration is a mainly poetic device, although it is occasionally used in prose. Its two main purposes are to please the ear and to emphasize certain words. Anglo-Saxon poetry was greatly influenced by alliteration, and often contained three or four examples on one line.
(ex. "She sells seashells at the seashore")
A reference to a person, place, event, literary work that is usually recognized. An allusion is often taken from history, geopgraphy, literature, or religion. Much of today's allusions are found in many TV programs (the Simpsons and Seinfeld) and stand-up comedy.
(ex. In Act One of Macbeth, Ross alludes to "Bellona's bridegroom" to praise Macbeth for his skills in battle. Bellona was the goddess of war in Greek mythology)
A comparison revealing the similarlities between two things. An analaogy is ofted used as a simile for illustration or for arguement.
(ex. Pope's Essay on Criticism: "'Tis with our judgement as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.")
A major character, in a narrative or drama, in opposition to the hero or heroine. A rival.
(ex. Sherlocke Holmes' antagonist was Professor Moriarty)
A balancing of two contrasting ideas, often expressed in a sentence of balanced grammatical structure.
(ex. Alexander Pope's Essay on Critisim: "To err is human, to forgive divine")
A short, concise statement expressing a knowledgable observation of life. Usually a statement of a truth or doctrine.
(ex. Alexander Pope: "For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" or Francis Bacon: "Silence is the virtue of fools")
A figure of speech in which a dead person, a nonhuman or an abstract quality is addressed directly.
(ex. George Gordon, Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean")
In drama, an aside is meant to be heard by the audience, but not by the other characters in the play. Asides were popular before the end of the nineteenth century to reveal the true motives and thoughts of characters. A related device is the soliloquy.
Similar to alliteration, an assonance is the repetition of consonant sounds, usually in stressed syllable.
(ex.Twinkle, twinkle, little star...)
The mood that is established in a literary work. Atmosphere is often created through the setting and through foreshadowing.
(ex. Macbeth: The first act creates a dark and dismal mood with the three witches, forming the atmosphere of the play. What the witches state is the foreshadowing of the later evil in the play)
From the Greek translation "self-life-writing", an autobiography is a personal account of one's own life. Usually written in the narrative form with some introspection, autobiographies differ from memoirs which are written in a different perspective.
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