Literary Terms and Devices. Kevin Stadtler. Figurative Language. Figurative language is a word or phrase from everyday literal language for the sake of comparison, emphasis , or clarity. Imagery.
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Imagery is the usage of words which cause people to imagine pictures in their mind of a scene or situation
In act 1 scene 5 lines 60-65, the Ghost uses imagery when he says “That swift as quicksilver it courses through The natural gates and alleys of the body, And with a sudden vigor doth posset And curd, like eager droppings into milk, The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine; And a most instant tetter bark'd about,”
In Bob Dylan’s song, Mr. Tambourine Man, he uses imagery when he describes where he finds peace, “Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves.”http://vimeo.com/64904508
A metaphor is a comparison or assertion of likeness between two seemingly unlike objects. A metaphor does not use like or as.
Hamlet says after meeting the ghosts that he will “Yea, from the table of my memory I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and observation copied there”(I. 5. 98-101). Hamlet here is basically comparing his head to a slate that is full of information and he can wipe it all off with one quick sweep.
Mother Teresa uses her life as a metaphor when she says “I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
An apostrophe is when a speaker or writer breaks off from addressing the audience and speaks to an opponent or to a third party not involved in the conversation.
Hamlet says “O God! God!” as an apostrophe in Act 1 after Claudius and Gertrude beg him to stay in Denmark and not return to school. (I.2.132- B)
In the rap, Mercy by Kanye West with Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz, there is an apostrophe when a voice comes on saying “It is a weeping, and a moaning, and a gnashing of teethIt is a weeping, and a moaning, and a gnashing of teethIt is - when it comes to my sound which is the champion soundBelieve! Believe!” This voice speaks
A symbol is something that represents or stands for something else, while still remaining in its current disposition.
In Act V scene 1, Hamlet ponders upon death with the skull which he held in his hand. The Skull symbolizes that we are all dust and our time is winding down. Here he says “he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!” (V.i.171-172).
The stars on our national flag are symbols or representations for all of the separate states united under one flag.
An allegory is a story or a poem that can be interpreted to have a deeper meaning about morals or life.
An example of an Allegory is in Act 3 scene 2 when Hamlet has the Players portrait the murder of Hamlet Sr. by Claudius. This had a deeper meaning to both Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude , who was also involved in the story the players preformed.
Books such as Animal Farm and 1984 have been written as allegories to current or possible future event that were to transpire. They contained a deeper meaning then a group of pigs who take over a farm or a man who reads a book.
An understatement is when somebody makes out an occurrence or object to be less than what it really was. It is the opposite of a hyperbole.
Claudius uses understatement when he describes the situation with young Fortinbras of Norway. He makes it out to be not a big deal at all; but in fact, Fortinbras is ready to attack the castle at any moment.
Understatements are commonly used by some parents in dangerous situation towards young children in an attempt to shield them from some of the cruelties of society.
An Irony is a situation that is strange or funny because it turns out in a way that you wouldn’t expect it to or want it to.
When Hamlet is with his mom, he killed an intruder, who he believes to be Claudius. “Ay, lady, 'twas my word. Lifts up the array and discovers POLONIUSThou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!” (III.3.30-31).
The song, Ironic by Alanis Morissette, sings extensively about irony. With lines like “It's like rain on your wedding day, It's a free ride when you've already paid,It's the good advice that you just didn't take”, she sings about the simple ironies of everyday life.
Chiasmus is when terms are used in one order and then subsequently repeated in another order repeated in reverse order
Claudius and Gertrude say a chiasmus, feeding off of each other. Claudius leads by saying “Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.” Followed by Gertrude saying, “Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.”(II.2.34-33).
John F. Kennedy used this tool in one of his most famous lines of all time, "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
A repartee is a conversation which occurs with the initial exchange of witty remarks.
In Act II, scene2, lines 371-405, Hamlet take part in a Repartee, which he rules the entire time. Claudius can not ever openly respond to his witty remarks of crazed and improper courtesy because of his much inferior status compared to Hamlet.
An example or repartee in todays world is a rap battle between rappers. Here they give each other witty and amusing insults until one side falters.
A rhyme is when two or more words sound the same when spoken in a repeating manner.
Shakespeare ends scene 2 in Act I with a concluding couplet which rhymes. Hamlet says “Till then sit still, my soul: foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes.”(I.2.259)
Bob Dylan sings with rhymes in his song, Shelter from the Storm. He sings “Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns ‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm’”
Free verse is a poetic style that lacks a regular, systematic meter or rhyme scheme throughout the writing.
Shakespeare chooses not to use free verse in Hamlet.
Many poets today utilize free verse in their poems. Walt Whitman uses free verse in his poem, After the Sea-Ship. He said “After the Sea-Ship—after the whistling winds; After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes, Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks, Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:”