AP English Literature Terms (Othello Concentration)

alliteration words that begin with the same letter are used in successione.g. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
allusion passing reference to another subject matter (place, event, literary work, etc)e.g. “I paint, but I am no Picasso”
apostrophe addressing an absent or nonexistent person, thing, or entity as if they are present and capable of understandinge.g. Iago “talks” to a figurative poison of lies:”Iago: Work on,My medicine, work! Thus credulous fools are caught, And many worthy and chaste dames even thus, All guiltless, meet reproach” (Shakespeare, 4.1.44-48)
archetype a concept, a person, or an object that has come to be used over and over again in workse.g. In Othello, some archetypes are the Shadow (the unconscious dark side), the Loyal Wife, and the Loyal Dog (Cassio is foolish but ultimately loyal to Othello)
assonance repetition of sounds produced by vowelse.g. “on a proud round cloud in white high night” (E.E. Cummings, if a cheerfulest Elephantangelchild should sit)
asyndeton conjunctions are purposely left out in a sentence or phrase (to make it shorter or more memorable)e.g. “I came, I saw, I conquered”, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”
analogy establishes relationship based on similarities between two concepts or idease.g. Iago comments on Othello’s relationship by stating that his sweet relationship will soon taste bitter to him.”The food that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida” (Shakespeare, 1.3)
anaphora repetition of a sequence of words for emphasis, emphasis, emphasis
anecdote a short verbal account of an event or incidente.g. Othello recounts how Brabantio would invite him over to hear his stories”Othello:Her father loved me; oft invited me;Still question’d me the story of my life,From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,That I have passed” (Shakespeare, 1.3).
litote deliberate understatement or negation of the contrary in order to achieve an effecte.g. “Not bad”, “This is no small problem”
enjambment continuation to the next line without a pause or break (poetic device)e.g. Basically every line of Shakespeare. This is often to achieve the iambic pentameter of his works (lines are about 10 syllables long)”Roderigo:Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindlyThat thou, Iago, who hast had my purseAs if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this” (Shakespeare 1.1)
simile drawing parallels or comparisons of two unrelated or dissimilar things, people, places, and concepts by “as”, “like”, or “such as”e.g. Othello compares Desdemona’s “name” [honor] with the face of the goddess Diana and his own face”Her name that wasAs fresh as Diana’s visage,is now begrimed and blackAs mine own face” (Shakespeare 3.3)
explication explaining the meaning behind a text line by linee.g. Literature help websites such as Shmoop or SparkNotes tend to have analysis line by line. Also any books with notes in the margins
didactic intended for instructione.g. literary works with morals or lessons in the end, but if you want to get really general, How-To books
hyperbole exaggeration to create a more noticeable effecte.g. Othello warns Iago about lying of Desdemona and says that even damnation will not be capable of the rage he will dish out if he finds out Iago is lying.”If thou dost slander her and torture me,Never pray more; abandon all remorse;On horror’s head accumulate;Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;For nothing canst thou to damnation addGreater than that.
metonymy substituting something with a word that is linked to ite.g. The US government is often referred to as “Washington DC”
malapropism substituting words with similar-sounding words that have different meaningse.g. “We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.” -George W. Bush
paradox using contradictory concepts or ideas to create significance in new levelse.g. The Duke of Venice advises Brabantio (who has been “robbed” of Desdemona by “the thief” Othello) to not grumble about their marriage.”The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief” (Shakespeare, 1.3.230)
parallelism Placing together similarly structured phrases, words, or clausese.g. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, “Easy come, easy go”
understatement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhRUe-gz690
overstatement state strongly beyond necessitye.g. “I cannot walk! My wounds hurt so” when referring to a paper cut
stichomythy dialogue spoken in alternating single linese.g. The stichomythy used when Roderigo and Iago speak to Brabantio is done in order to create a sense of urgency and danger.”Roderigo: Signior, is all your family within?Iago: Are your doors lock’d?BRABANTIO: Why, wherefore ask you this?” (Shakespeare 1.1)
synecdoche using a part to refer to the wholee.g. Often (but not only) used with body parts:”Mouths to feed”, “All hands on deck”
verisimilitude appearance of truth and real life as much as possiblee.g. Othello utilizes verisimilitude by resembling real life. This can include the realism of the characters, their motives, the setting, and the plot.
dissonance deliberate use of inharmonious syllables, words, or phrases to create a harsh-toned effecte.g. “Fierce-throated beauty”, “Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d” in Walt Whitman’s “To a Locomotive in Winter”
juxtaposition placing a person, place, idea, or theme parallel to one another to achieve some effecte.g. Iago juxtaposes age and appearance in his description of Othello and Desdemona in coitus.”Iago: Even now, now, very now, an old black ramIs topping your white ewe” (Shakespeare, 1.1)
motif any element, subject, idea, or concept that is constantly present through the entire body of literaturee.g. The idea of darker and lighter-skinned people mingling is treated as unnatural through Othello (from Brabantio’s accusations to Othello’s comments about himself near the end).

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