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The term imagery has various applications. Generally, imagery includes all kinds of sense perception (not just visual pictures). In a more limited application, the term describes visible objects only. But the term is perhaps most commonly used to describe figurative language, which is as a theme in literature.
An example is animal imagery in Othello
When Iago tortures Othello with animal images of his wife\'s supposed infidelity, "were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys…" (3.3.403), his description so overcomes the Moor that later, in greeting
Lodovico, he suddenly blurts out, "Goats and monkeys!" (4.1.256).
A direct, expressed comparison between two things essentially unlike each other, but resembling each other in at least one way using the words "like" or "as" in the comparison. In formal prose the simile is a device both of art and explanation, comparing the unfamiliar thing (to be explained) to some familiar thing (an object, event, process, etc.) known to the reader.
When the young Shakespeare gives the Duke of York, who is being taunted by Queen Margaret, the line "O tiger\'s heart wrapped in a woman\'s hide!" his meaning depends on the particular qualities associated at the time with the tiger: that they included not only fierceness but also deviousness is shown by the infamous parody of the line by his jealous contemporary, Robert Greene, who warned others in the literary world that Shakespere, had a "tiger\'s heart wrapped in a player\'s hide."
In this line from Ezra Pound\'s Fan-Piece, for Her Imperial Lord:
"clear as frost on the grass-bade,"a fan of white silk is being compared to frost on a blade of grass. Note the use of the word "as."
In a metaphor, a word is identified with something different from what the word literally denotes. A metaphor is distinguished from a simile in that it equates different things without using connecting terms such as like or as.
Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, has this to say about the moral condition of his parishoners:
"There are the black clouds of God\'s wrath now hanging directly over
your heads, full of the dreadful storm and big with thunder;"
The comparison here is between God\'s anger and a storm. Note that there is no use of "like" or "as" as would be the case in a simile.
Generally speaking, a symbol is a sign representing something other than itself. A symbol is an image with an indefinite range of reference beyond itself. Some symbols are conventional as they have a range of significance that is commonly understood in a particular culture. Other symbols are private or personal, having a special significance derived from their particular use by an author.
Personification is the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects or abstract concepts.
Personification heightens a reader\'s emotional response to what is being described by giving it human qualities and therefore human significance.
Consider the following lines from Carl Sandburg\'s Chicago:
"Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the big shoulders:"
Carl Sandburg description of Chicago includes shoulders. Cities do not have shoulders, people do. Sandburg personifies the city by ascribing to it something human, shoulders.
Pathetic Fallacy is a fallacy of reason in suggesting that nonhuman phenomena act from human feelings, It is a literary device where something nonhuman found in nature-a beast, plant, stream, natural
force, etc.-performs as though from human feeling or motivation.
In Jack London\'s To Build a Fire, "The cold of space," London writes, "smote the unprotected tip of the planet, . . ." The word "smote" suggests nature deliberately striking the northern tip of the earth with severe cold.
The poetry of William Wordsworth is replete with instances of pathetic fallacy-weeping streams, etc.
A pun is a play on words. It exploits the multiple meanings of a word, or else replaces one word with another that is similar in sound but has a very different meaning. Puns are sometimes used for serious purposes, but more often for comic effect.
In the grave-digger scene of Hamlet, the hero and a Clown pun on the words "lie" and "quick":
HAMLET: Whose grave\'s this, sirrah?
CLOWN: Mine, sir....
HAMLET: I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in\'t.
CLOWN: You lie out on\'t, sir, and therefore \'tis not yours. For my part, I do not lie in\'t,
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Figures of speech, Rhetorical techniques, Semantics, Rhetoric, Metaphor, Literary criticism, Literal and figurative language, Simile, Pathetic fallacy, Analogy, Pun, Poetry
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