4 Jun 2023

BA MA BS English Literature Famous Literary Terms



What is a Satire?


Satire is a literary or artistic technique that uses humor, irony, sarcasm, or ridicule to criticize or mock various aspects of society, individuals, institutions, or even human nature itself. It often employs exaggeration or absurdity to expose and criticize flaws, vices, or follies, with the aim of bringing about social or political change or simply entertaining the audience.



Examples of Satire


"Animal Farm" by George Orwell:

This novel is a satirical allegory that uses animals on a farm to represent different political figures and ideas.


"Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift:

In this classic novel, the protagonist Gulliver travels to different lands, each representing a satirical critique of various aspects of society.



What Is Allegory?


An allegory is a literary device used to convey abstract ideas or moral principles through symbolic characters, events, or settings. It involves a story or narrative that has a deeper, hidden meaning beyond the literal interpretation. Allegories are often employed to explore complex concepts, social issues, or philosophical themes.



Examples of Allegory

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell:

This novella uses animals on a farm to represent the events and figures of the Russian Revolution and the early Soviet Union. The pigs, led by Napoleon, symbolize the Communist Party leaders, while the other animals represent different social classes and political ideologies. Through the allegory, Orwell critiques the corruption of power and the dangers of totalitarianism.


"The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding:

In this novel, a group of boys stranded on an uninhabited island represents the flaws and darker aspects of human nature. The characters symbolize different aspects of society, such as leadership, savagery, reason, and innocence.



What Is Irony?

Irony is a literary device that involves expressing a meaning that is the opposite of what is expected or a situation that contradicts expectations. Irony is a powerful tool in literature, film, and everyday communication. It adds depth, complexity, and amusement to language and storytelling by highlighting contrasts between appearances and reality, expectations and outcomes, or the intentions of characters and their actual actions.


Kinds of Irony

Verbal Irony: This occurs when someone says something but means the opposite.


When it starts raining heavily and someone says, "What lovely weather we're having!"


Situational Irony:

This type of irony arises when the outcome of a situation is the opposite of what was expected or intended.


A fire station burning down due to a fire.


Dramatic Irony:

This occurs when the audience or reader knows something that the characters in a story or play do not. A classic example is in Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" when Juliet takes a potion to fake her death, but Romeo, unaware of this plan, believes she is truly dead and kills himself.


Cosmic Irony:

This form of irony relates to a situation in which a higher power or fate seems to be playing a role, resulting in an ironic outcome.


A person postpones a trip to avoid bad weather, but the rescheduled trip is affected by even worse weather.




What is a Monologue?

A monologue is a speech or an extended period of speaking by one person, often in a dramatic or theatrical context. It is a form of solo performance where a single character expresses his thoughts, feelings, or opinions to himself or directly to the audience, without any interruption or dialogue with other characters. Monologues are commonly used in plays, movies, and literature to provide insights into a character's inner thoughts, motivations, and emotions.





"To be or not to be" - from Shakespeare's play Hamlet:


"To be or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..."



What is Soliloquy?

Soliloquy is a literary device commonly used in drama and poetry, where a character speaks their thoughts aloud, usually while alone on stage. It is a form of monologue that reveals the innermost feelings, emotions, and reflections of the character. Soliloquies are often used to provide insight into a character's motives, dilemmas, and personal struggles, allowing the audience to understand their perspective.



"To be or not to be, that is the question..." - Hamlet by William Shakespeare

This soliloquy is one of the most well-known in all of literature. Hamlet contemplates the nature of life and death, reflecting on the struggles and existential questions that torment him.


"O, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" - Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

In this soliloquy, Juliet expresses her love for Romeo and laments the fact that their families are enemies, questioning why he must be Romeo Montague.



"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players..." - As You Like It by William Shakespeare

This famous soliloquy is spoken by the character Jaques, reflecting on the stages of life and the transient nature of human existence.




What is a Sonnet?

A sonnet is a poetic form that originated in Italy and has been widely used in English literature. It consists of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter, which means that each line has ten syllables and follows a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. Sonnets often explore themes of love, beauty, and the passage of time.



Types of Sonnet:

There are two main types of sonnets: the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet and the English (or Shakespearean) sonnet. Let me explain each type and provide an example of each.


Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet:

The Italian sonnet is divided into two parts: an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The octave usually presents a problem or asks a question, while the sestet provides a resolution or an answer.


In this example, the first eight lines (octave) raise the question of whether the beloved's beauty can be compared to a summer's day. The last six lines (sestet) answer by asserting that the beloved's beauty will not fade because it has been immortalized in the poet's lines.


English (Shakespearean) Sonnet:

The English sonnet is divided into three quatrains (four lines each) and a final couplet (two lines). The quatrains usually present an idea or argument, and the couplet provides a conclusion or a twist.







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