Hamlet literary terms WITH EXAMPLES

synecdoche A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (genus named for species), or vice versa (species named for genus).Example in Hamlet: “Cleave the general ear” (Act 2, Scene 2)
anaphora Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.Example in Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2: “Doubt thou the stars are fire; / Doubt that the sun doth move; / Doubt truth to be a liar; / But never doubt I love.”
polysyndeton Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2: Hamlet to Gertrude lines 77-83
asyndeton The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect.Example in Hamlet: “Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief”
metaphor A comparison made by referring to one thing as another.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 5: “The time is out of JOINT. O curs├Ęd spite, / That ever I was born to set it right!”
tricolon Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 5: “List, list, oh, list!”
chiasmus – Repetition of ideas in inverted order- Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (inverted syntax)Example in Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2: “‘Mad’ call I it”
oxymoron Placing two ordinarily opposing terms adjacent to one another. A compressed paradox.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2: “With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage.”
conceit An extended metaphor that typically takes one subject and explores the metaphoric possibilities in the qualities associated with that subject.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2: Hamlet’s comparison of the world to an unkempt garden
stichomythia Dialogue in which two characters speak alternate lines of verse, used as a stylistic device in ancient Greek drama.Example in Hamlet: The Closet Scene in Act 3, Scene 4 between Hamlet and Gertrude
apostrophe Turning one’s speech from one audience to another. Most often, apostrophe occurs when one addresses oneself to an abstraction, to an inanimate object, or to the absent.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2: “Frailty, thy name is woman!”
antithesis Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in parallel structure).Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 3: Laertes to Ophelia, lines 7-8
monologue A speech presented by a single character, most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience.Example in Hamlet: Horatio explaining the issue with Norway to Barnardo and Marcellus in Act 1, Scene 1
soliloquy An act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.Example in Hamlet: Act 1, Scene 2: Hamlet’s quote lines 129-159
hyperbole Rhetorical exaggeration often accomplished via comparisons, similes, and metaphors.Example in Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2: “He would drown the stage with tears”

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