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Literary Terms and Devices

Literary Terms and DevicesKevin StadtlerFigurative language is a word or phrase from everyday literal language for the sake of comparison, emphasis, or clarityFigurative LanguageImagery is the usage of words which cause people to imagine pictures in their mind of a scene or situationIn 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 Dylans 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/64904508ImageryA simile is a comparison between objects using like or as to make a description more vivid.In Act 1 scene 5 lines 24-25, the ghost exclaimed Thy knotted and combined locks to part And each particular hair to stand on end, Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.In the song, Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons, a simile is used when they sing With skin too tight and eyes like marbles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMJUbZrNnA8Simile

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.MetaphorPersonification is when an inanimate or nonhuman object is given the characteristics of a human being.Claudius says in act 5, "And let the kettle to the trumpet speak" (V.2.277). Here he is saying that he will drink wine if Hamlet wins the fencing match with Laertes.Ryan Bingham, in his song Hard Times, says Hard times, Creepin up on the good folks you know. Here the Hard times are given a human persona of creeping up or being sneaky. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o181GOT8VgPersonificationAn 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGX5-3G_1v4Apostrophe

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.Symbol

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.

AllegoryA paradox is a statement that is contradictory because it contains two statements that are both generally true cannot both be true at the same time."You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife(III.4.15). Hamlet says the paradox of the situation that surrounds his mother.The Nirvana song, Come As You Are, is a song which involves paradoxes with lyrics like As a friend,As an old enemy,Take your time,Hurry up,The choice is yours,Don't be late.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vabnZ9-ex7oParadox

A hyperbole is a great exaggeration of the truth or properties of an object.Laertes says, when Ophelia is buried, "Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead, Till of this flat a mountain you have made, To overtop old Pelion(V.1.258-260).In Bruno Mars song, Grenade, he uses an uses an hyperbole when he sings Id catch a grenade for ya. I seriously doubt he would actually do thatHyperboleAn 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.Understatement An Irony is a situation that is strange or funny because it turns out in a way that you wouldnt 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 POLONIUS Thou 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.Irony

Chiasmus is when terms are used in one order and then subsequently repeated in another order repeated in reverse orderClaudius 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."Chiasmus

Metonymy is when a person is referred to by the name of the greater entity he or she represents.Claudius refers to the King of Norway, Fortinbras uncle, as Norway when he says For bearers of this greeting to old Norway (I.2.35).Whenever people today refer to the President, the Whitehouse is often used as a metonymy.Metonymy

A synecdoche is when a part is made to represent the whole or the whole can represent a part.The Ghost refers to the monarchy by as a whole by only using the royal beds they sleep on, when he says "Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest.(I.5.89-90).People often refer to a car as a set of wheels, today. People also can refer to a group of cattle as a head.Synecdoche

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.Repartee

Stichomythia is an exchange of dramatic words between people in which a single line of meter is used.A perfect example of stichomythia is Claudius and Gertrudes exchange with Laertes shortly after he and peasants storm the castle. L. Where is my father? C. Dead. G. But not by him. (IV.5.126-128)Many soap operas use stichomythia to convey the drama transpiring in the scenes they are in.

StichomythiaA stock character is a person who is quickly entered into a scene and easily recognized as a common individual.An example of a stock character is Osric. He enters into the story as a one dimensional man. He serves no real purpose in the story other than as a comic relief point before the epic battle.A stock character is commonly used in comedy television shows such as South Park, Family Guy, and many more.Stock Characters

Musical Devices

Alliteration is the use of words with the same starting letter and close proximity to each other.The ghost uses alliteration while revelating to Hamlet With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power (I.5.43-44)An example of alliteration today is The Beach Boys song, Little Saint Nick. They alliterate in the song when they sing Run run reindeer Run run reindeerAlliteration

Assonance is the repetition of the sound of a vowel in stressed syllables, which are not rhyming, close enough to be recognized together.Along with being Alliteration, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power (I.5.43-44) is also assonance because it repeats the iDiddys song coming home use assonance with the o and ai when they sing I'm coming home I'm coming home tell the World I'm coming home Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday.

AssonanceConsonance is the repetition of the same consonant in near consecutive uses.Consonan

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