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a poem that celebrates, in a continuous narrative, the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines, often concerned with the founding of a nation or developing of a culture; it uses elevated language and grand high style


that part of the structure that sets the scene, introduces and identifies the characters, and establishes the situation at the beginning of a story or play


a detailed and complex metaphor that extends over a long section of work, also known as conceit

extended metaphor

the part of the plot structure in which the complications of the rising action are untangled. this is also known as the denouement

falling action

a play or scene in a play or book that is characterized by broad humor, wild antics, and are often slapstick and physical humor


to hint at or present in indication of the future beforehand


language that is lofty, dignified, and impersonal. such diction is often used in narrative epic poetry

formal diction

retrospection, where an earlier event is inserted into the normal chronology of the narrative


poetry that is characterized by varying lengths, lack of traditional meter, and non rhyming lines

free verse

a type or class of literature such as epic or narrative or poetry or belles letters


overstatement characterized by exaggerated language


a metrical form in which each foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one


broadly defined, any sensory detail or evocation in a work; more narrowly, the use of figurative language to evoke a feeling, to call to mind an idea, or to describe an object


language that is not as lofty or impersonal as formal diction; similar to everyday speech

informal diction

"in the midst of things"; refers to opening a story in the middle of the action, necessitating filling in past details by exposition or flashback

in medias res

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