Hamlet: Literary Terms and Examples

Allegory Literary work with 2 or more levels of meaning (Literal and symbolic)Example: Hamlet’s costume changes
Allusion Reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of artExample: “I did enact Julius Caesar. I was killed i’ the’ Capitol; Brutus killed me.” Act 3 Scene 2
Ambiguity Effect created when words suggest and support 2 or more divergent interpretationsExample: Hamlet’s indecision in the first soliloquy Act 1 Scene 2
Climax High point of interest in literary work; where protagonist changes understanding; Sometimes goes along with resolutionExample: Hamlet stabbing Polonius Act 3 Scene 4
Conflict Struggle between opposing Example: Conflict over Hamlet’s father’s death with Gertrude and Claudius
Connotation Associations that words call to mindExample: When Hamlet dies alongside Laretes, Gertrude, Claudius Act 5 Scene 2
Couplet Pair of rhyming lines in the same meterExample: “Foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth’s o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.” Act 1 Scene 3
Epiphany Moment of insight where a character realizes the truthExample: When Hamlet is on a ship sailing to England.”there is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we may.”Act 5 Scene 2
Hyperbole Exaggeration or overstatement Example: “A murderer and a villain,A slave that is not twentieth part the titheOf thy precedent lord”Act 3 Scene 4
Iambic Pentameter a foot with one unstressed syllable marked with a slanted line. These stressed syllables are divided by vertical lines into groups (Also can be called blank verse)Example: “O that this too too solid flesh would melt,Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!Or that the Everlasting had not fix’dHis canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!” Act 1 Scene 2
Dramatic Irony A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be trueExample: Occurs because only the Ghost and we know the truth that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father
Situation Irony An event that occurs that directly contradicts expectationsExample: The swords being switched and Laertes dying by the poison intended for Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2
Verbal Irony Used to suggest the opposite if their usual meaning Example: Hamlet’s Conversations throughout the book
Metaphor A figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else.Example: “Therefore I have entreated him alongWith us to watch the minutes of this night”Act 1 Scene 1
Paradox A statement that seems to be contradictory but that actually presents a truthExample: I must be cruel to be kind.”Act 3 Scene 4
Personification A figure of speech in which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristicsExample: “For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak. With most miraculous organ” Act 2 scene 2
Setting The time and place of an action of literary workExample: Late middle ages (14th and 15th centuries, or 1300 to 1499) in and around (mostly) the royal palace in Elsinore, a city in Denmark.
Simile A figure of speech that compares two unlike things using like or asExample: The Ghost says, “Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres” Act 1 Scene 5
Soliloquy A long speech in a play or in a prose work made by character who is alone and thus reveals private thoughts and feelings to the audience or readerExample: “To be or not to be-that is the question..”Act 3 Scene 1
Symbol A sign, word, phrase, image, or other object that stands for or represents something elseExample: Yorick’s skullAct 5 Scene 1
Theme The central idea, concern, or purpose in a literary workExample: Revenge and justice; Hamlet trying to get revenge on Claudius
Tragedy A type of drama or literature that shows the downfall or destruction of a noble or outstanding personExample: Death of Hamlet Act 5 scene 2
motif recurring object concept idea throughout a piece of literature or a group of an author’s writings poison rotting
anagnorisis a moment in a story when the protagonist learns of his true identity or discovers the true nature of his situation ex of act iv of hamlet when hamlet finds out that clauduius really murdered his father
hamaritia tragic flaw the flaw that leads to the downfall of the character in a tragedy also error in judgement hamlets hamarita is his indecision and inabillity to act on revenge
castastrophe final action that completes the unreveling of the plot in a tragedy brings about the resoultion
catharsis purging of feelings of pity and horror you may feel at the end of the watching a tragedy
blank verse strong regular meter within the lines but has no rhyme scheme
great chain of being
soliloquy character thinking aloud or speaking only yo 1 other character on the stage: although other charcters may be present on the stage they r not supposed to be to haer what the charcter deleving the solloqioy is saying
monologue delievering a speech to other on the stage

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