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31 terms

Shakespearian Literary Terms

Literary terms used in studying Shakespeare
STUDY
PLAY
alliteration
the repetition of a leading vowel or consonant sound in a phrase
allusion
an implied or indirect reference to a person, event, or thing or to a part of another text
apostrophe
address to an absent or imaginary person or thing
aside
a literary device in that an actor speaks to the audience; he/she is not heard by the other characters who are on stage with him or her
blank verse
unrhymed iambic pentameter
comic relief
a humorous or farcical interlude in a serious literary work or drama, especially a tragedy, intended to relieve the dramatic tension or heighten the emotional impact by means of contrast
conceit
a fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison (metaphor) that gets developed beyond the initial mention of it.
dramatic irony
when the audience knows something about what is happening that the characters do not
dynamic character
character who changes, grows or develops during the literary work
external conflict
character in conflict with other characters or society
flat character
character who shows only one side or one characteristic of his or her personality
foil
a character who interacts with another character with very different qualities for the purpose of emphasizing those differences. This is a juxtaposition of unlike characters.
foreshadow
to present an indication or a suggestion of what will happen later on
hyperbole
exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect
iambic pentameter
poetic rhythm co nsisting of 10 beats in a pattern of unstressed, then stressed syllables.
internal conflict
character in conflict with self
irony
Incongruity (difference) between what might be expected and what actually occurs
juxtaposition
putting two unlike things close together to emphasize the differences between them
metaphor
a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another - a comparison of two unlike things
metonymy
substitution of a term naming an object closely associated with the word in mind for the word itself
monologue
in a drama, a long speech made by one person, often monopolizing a conversation.
mood
the feeling or atmosphere of a literary work
oxymoron
incongruous or contradictory terms are combined
paradox
a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true
personification
inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form
pun
a phrase that deliberately exploits confusion between similar-sounding words for humorous or rhetorical effect
rhyming couplet
two consecutive lines of iambic pentameter that rhyme
round character
character who shows multiple characteristics of his or her personality
simile
two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as
soliloquy
a speech of a character in a play while the speaker is alone, to show the audience what the character is thinking.
static character
character who does not change or develop during the literary work