Literary Terms in A Midsummer Night's Dream

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Information about Literary Terms in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Published on March 16, 2008

Author: davygamm

Source: slideshare.net

Description

An introduction to figurative language and soliloquies in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespearean Drama: Critical Literary Concepts

I. Figurative Language

A. Definition Describes something by comparing it to something else. Comparison is not literal – uses imagination Uses images in the comparison The two things are different enough so that their similarities, when pointed out, are interesting, unique, or surprising.

Describes something by comparing it to something else.

Comparison is not literal – uses imagination

Uses images in the comparison

The two things are different enough so that their similarities, when pointed out, are interesting, unique, or surprising.

2. Three Main Types Metaphor Direct comparison of two unlike things that have something in common. Does not use “like” or as” – says one thing IS another thing. “ But earthlier happy is the rose distilled , Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn , Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness ” (I.i. 76-78) Here, Theseus refers to a married woman as a “rose distilled” to emphasize that a married woman has a purpose in life. Here, Theseus refers to a nun as a rose that grows, lives, and dies all alone on the vine, to emphasize that such a woman lacks a real purpose in life and is all alone.

Metaphor

Direct comparison of two unlike things that have something in common.

Does not use “like” or as” – says one thing IS another thing.

b. Simile i. Indirect comparison of two unlike things. ii. Uses “like” or “as” – does NOT say that one object IS the other thing. “ To you your father should be as a god , One that composed your beauties; yea and one To whom you are but as a form in wax By him imprinted and within his power To leave the figure or disfigure it” (I.i. 47-51) To convince Hermia that she should listen to her dad, Theseus compares him to a god. He then adds emphasis by comparing Hermia to a wax figure that her father carved. He says her dad has the power to leave the statue complete, or destroy it.

b. Simile

i. Indirect comparison of two unlike things.

ii. Uses “like” or “as” – does NOT say that one object IS the other thing.

c. Personification i. Gives human qualities to an inanimate object or idea. ii. Qualities include emotions, desires, sensations, speech, gestures, etc. “ And then the moon , like to a silver bow New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night Of our solemnities” (I.i. 8-10). Here, Hippolyta emphasizes her unhappiness by saying the moon (Artemis) will witness what will happen. Ex: “But earthlier happy is the rose distilled , Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness” (I.i. 76-78) Returning to our earlier metaphor example, Theseus says that the distilled rose is happier than the one that never gets used. Giving a flower emotions is personification. This emphasizes his view that Hermia will be happier if she marries Demetrius than if she becomes a nun.

c. Personification

i. Gives human qualities to an inanimate object or idea.

ii. Qualities include emotions, desires, sensations, speech, gestures, etc.

II. Soliloquy

Definition A speech given by someone alone on stage (soli = alone, loquere = Latin for “to speak”) The character talks to him/herself, not to any other characters. Serves several main purposes: Reveals a character’s true inner thoughts and feelings Can give insights into the plot – plans the character is making, ideas he / she has In other words, it allows the audience to learn things that they would never otherwise learn.

Definition

A speech given by someone alone on stage (soli = alone, loquere = Latin for “to speak”)

The character talks to him/herself, not to any other characters.

Serves several main purposes:

Reveals a character’s true inner thoughts and feelings

Can give insights into the plot – plans the character is making, ideas he / she has

In other words, it allows the audience to learn things that they would never otherwise learn.

C. Key soliloquies in MND Helena, Act I.i Oberon, Act II.i Bottom, Act IV.ii

Helena, Act I.i

Oberon, Act II.i

Bottom, Act IV.ii

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