¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 (i) The list contains some of the more frequent rhetorical figures but is far from complete. More comprehensive accounts are available in standard textbooks (e.g. Morwood (1999) 150-54: ‘Some literary terms’) or on the web (e.g. Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric: http://rhetoric.byu.edu/).
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 (ii) Most of the terms derive from, or indeed are, either Greek or Latin; we have therefore provided an etymological explanation for each, not least to show that the terminological abracadabra makes perfectly good sense – even though it takes a smattering of ancient Greek and Latin to see this.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 (iii) The English examples are from Shakespeare. Unless otherwise indicated they come from the Pyramus-and-Thisbe episode in Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The main reason for drawing on the oeuvre of an (early) modern author for illustration is to convey a sense of the continuity of classical and classicizing rhetoric in the western cultural tradition. And using a Shakespeare text that engages in allusive dialogue with Ovid’s Metamorphoses ought to generate some interesting cross-fertilization with the AS-level set text in verse (the Pentheus-episode from Metamorphoses 3).
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Etymology: from the Greek phrase apo koinou lambanein, used by ancient grammarians of two clauses taking (apo … lambanein) a word in common (koinou, the genitive of koinon after the preposition apo).
¶ 25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 captatio benevolentiae: a Latin phrase that literally means ‘the capture of goodwill’, i.e. a rhetorical technique designed to render the audience kindly disposed towards the speaker.
¶ 26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 (Botched) example: ‘If we offend, it is with our good will. That you should think, we come not to offend. But with good will.’ ((Note that Shakespeare’s character here, hilariously, ‘translates’ the Latin benevolentia of the rhetorical figure, but, perversely, refers to the ‘good will’ of himself, the speaker, rather than that of the audience.))
¶ 28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Etymology: from Greek chiasmos, ‘a placing crosswise’, from the letter X (pronounced chi) of the Greek alphabet. (Imagine the two a at either end of the first diagonal line of X, and at either end of the second diagonal line the two b; then read the top half first and afterwards the bottom half and you get a b – b a.)
¶ 35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 Example: ‘I neither know it nor can learn of him’ (Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 1). ((Filling in the items elided would results in something like ‘I neither know it nor can I learn anything about it from him’.))
¶ 44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Example: ‘My mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands’(The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 3). ((Note that the last item in the list (wring-ing) contains the -ing sound twice, a stylistic climax that reinforces the climax in content achieved through the anthropomorphism of the cat and the unexpected switch from sound (weeping etc.) to silence (wringing).))
¶ 46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Etymology: from Greek huperbaino, ‘to step (bainein) over (huper-)’. (Imagine, for instance, that if an adjective is placed apart from the noun it modifies you have to ‘step over’ the intervening words to get from one to the other.)
¶ 47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Example: ‘Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall’ (Measure for Measure, Act 2, Scene 1). ((Natural word order would require ‘some fall by virtue’. Note that the hyperbaton also produces a chiasmus – Some (a) rise (b) by sin, and some (b) by virtue (a) fall – which is ideally suited to reinforce the elegant antitheses of sin and virtue, rising and falling. One could further argue that the hyperbaton, which produces disorder on the level of grammar and syntax, is the perfect figure of speech for the basic idea of the utterance: moral disorder, which manifests itself in the reward of sin and the punishment of virtue and implies that our universe is devoid of justice, i.e. as chaotic as the hyperbatic word order.))
¶ 50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 Example: ‘Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/ Clean from my hand? No. This my hand will rather/ The multitudinous seas incarnadine,/ Making the green one red’ (Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2). ((‘To incarnadine’ means ‘to turn into the colour of flesh (Latin caro/carnis, carnis), dye red, redden’. A more familiar term with a similar etymology is ‘incarnation’.))
¶ 52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Example: ‘Th’ Antoniad, the Egyptian admiral,/ With all their sixty, fly and turn the rudder’ (Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene10). ((The logical sequence would require ‘they turn the rudder and fly’. The example is a beautiful instance of enactment since the husteron proteron conveys a sense of how hastily (‘heel over head’ as it were) everyone is trying to get away.))
¶ 53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 litotes: a ‘double negation’, in which a statement, quality, or attribute is affirmed by the negation of its opposite; assertion by means of understatement, frequently for the purpose of intensification.
¶ 55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Example: ‘That I was not ignoble of descent’ (Henry VI, Act 4, Scene 1). ((Note that in modern literary criticism litotes is often used loosely to refer to simple negation (e.g. Shakespeare, Sonnet 130: ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…’).))
¶ 62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 Examples: ‘“A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus/ And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.” Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!/ That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow./ How shall we find the concord of this discord?’
¶ 69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 Brutus’ stabbing of Caesar ). ((Shakespeare expresses the degree to which Brutus’ unkindness outdid that of all the others pleonastically by using both the adverb ‘most’ and the superlative ending -est.))