AP Literary Devices in Hamlet

Anadiplosis. Define: Word that ends one clause, then acts to begin the next clause. Example: He hesitated at the door. A door to a new beginning.
Anaphora. Define: Repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences. Example: I remember my sister. I remember my parent’s phone number. I remember the words to my favorite song.
Antithesis. Define: Two opposing ideas presented in grammatically balanced statement. Example: “One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Asyndeton. Define: Elements are presented in a series (a list) without use of conjunctions (and, nor, etc). Example: She has provided them with candy, with popcorn, with movies.
Allusion. Define: a passing reference to a literary work
Apostrophe Define: speaking to something that can’t speak back
Chiasmus. Define: A statement of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed.Example: Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.
Hyperbole. Define: Intentional exaggeration for effect.
Litotes. Define: Understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite. Example: The scene at the car crash was not a pretty picture.
Metaphor. Define: The comparison of one thing to another without the use of like or asExample: The road was a ribbon of moonlight.
Metonymy. Define: Substituting the name of one object for another object closely associates with it. Example: The pen is mightier than the sword.
Polysyndeton. Define: To use, for rhetorical effect, of more conjunctions than necessary or natural. Example: Susan neither smiled nor laughed nor signed nor spoke.
Pun. Define: Play on words
Simile. Define: Comparison using like, as
Syllepsis. Define: A construction in which one word is used in two different senses (closely related to zeugma). Example: After he threw the ball, he threw a fit.
Synecdoche. Define: One part of an object is used to represent the entire object. Example: George got a new set of wheels.
Tautology. Define: Needless repetition which adds no meaning or understanding. Example: Let’s all work together, everyone, as a team! The game came with a free gift.
Simile “… a look so piteous in purport / As if he had been loosed out of hell/ to speak of horrors…”
Allusion “… she followed my poor father’s body / Like Niobe, all tears…”
Asyndeton “… Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief…”
Allusion “…but no more like my father than I to Hercules.”
Anadiplosis “…your father lost a father, / That father lost, lost his…”
Pun “A little more than kin, but less than kind.”
opposites; Antithesis “Bring with thee aids from heaven or blasts from hell…”
Apostrophe “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Talking to frailty)
Tautology (needless repetition) “Oh horrible, oh horrible, most horrible!”
(Uncle dad, monarch, king) Metonomy “The head is not more native to the heart, / The hand more instrumental to the mouth,/ Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.”
Metaphor “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown.”
Polysyndeton “These are but wild and whirling words, my lord!”
Asyndeton “Between his legs all of his red guts hung, with the heart, the lungs, the liver, the gall bladder…”
Anaphora “I have seen horsemen breaking camp. I have seen / the beginning of the assault, the march and muster, /and at times the retreat and riot. I have seen / where chargers trampled your land…”
Polysyndeton ” all his back and breast and both his flanks / were figured with bright knots…”
Polysyndeton “The unhealthy branches, gnarled and warped and tangled, bore poison thorns instead of fruit.”
Anaphora “Some hammer at a mast, some at a rib; /some make new oars, some braid and coil new lines;/ one patches up the mainsail, one the jib.”
Litotes “He / retorted with an arm blow to the face/ that seemed delivered no whit less politely.”
Anaphora “Lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes and see/ him the earth swallowed…”

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