English Final Exam: Literary Terms Review Macbeth

Alliteration Repetition of the same or very similar consonant sounds usually at the beginnings of words that are close together.Ex: “But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in / To saucy doubts and fears.” 3.4.24-25
Allusion Reference to a statement, a person, a place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science or pop culture. Ex: “Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight / with a new Gorgon.”
Aside Private words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or to another character and that are not supposed to be overheard by others onstage
Blank verse Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter-Shakespeare used it in his plays. Blank means the poetry is unrhymed.
Comic relief Character that provides comic relief from a previous tense scene
Couplet A pair of rhyming linesEx: Macbeth: “Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell.” 2.1.63-64
Groundlings Theater goers in the “pit”The cheap seats!
Iambic pentameter Line of poetry that contains 5 iambs. An iamb is a metrical foot, or unit of measure, consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. It closely resembles the natural rhythms of English speech
Soliloquy A long speech in which a character who is usually alone o stage expresses his or her private thoughts or feelingsEx: Macbeth: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow . . . “5.5.19-27Lady Macbeth: “Come, you spirits /s That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here . . . “1.5.38-52
Tragedy Play that depicts serious and important events in which the main character comes to an unhappy end. The main character is usually dignified and courageous and of noble birth.
Tragic Hero The main character is usually dignified, courageous, and often high ranking. They are often kings or military leaders; thus their downfalls have great consequences, affecting the welfare of a whole nation. Shakespearean heroes cause their own downfalls. The calamities in a Shakespearean tragedy do not just happen by accident, nor are they sent from above. Rather, they proceed from the hero’s own actions.
Tragic Flaw Tragic character’s downfall may be caused by a character flaw, or it may result from forces beyond human control. The tragic hero/heroine usually wins some self-knowledge and wisdom, even though he or she suffers defeat or eve deathEx: Macbeth.. Ambition
Climax The turning point of a story. From here on, the Shakespearean hero moves to his inevitable end. Ex: Act III, Scene 3 Murder of Banquo; escape of Fleance
Resolution Concerns the necessary consequences of the hero’s previous actions which must be the hero’s death.Ex: Act V, Scene 8 Death of Macbeth
Foreshadowing Is the use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story
Dramatic Irony Something is known by the audience but unknown to some characters
Personification Personification is giving human qualities to animals or objectEx: “If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me / Without my stir 1.3.
Paradox An apparent contradiction that is actually true.Ex: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”
Simile A figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between two seemingly unlike things by using a connecting word such as “like” or “as”Ex: Lady Macbeth: “Look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under it.” 1.5
Theme The central idea in a literary work.

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