DICTIONARY OF LITERARY TERMS
A symbolic narrative in which the surface details imply a secondary meaning. Allegory often
takes the form of a story in which the characters represent moral qualities. The most famous
example in English is John Bunyan's
, in which the name of the central
character, Pilgrim, epitomizes the book's allegorical nature. Kay Boyle's story "Astronomer's
Wife" and Christina Rossetti's poem "Up-Hill" both contain allegorical elements.
The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the beginning of words. Example: "Fetched
fresh, as I suppose, off some sweet wood." Hopkins, "In the Valley of the Elwy."
A reference to a person, place, object, or event outside the work itself.
A large, semicircular, outdoor theater, seating as many as 15,000 people, where Greek dramas
Two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one, as in
An anapestic meter rises to the accented beat as in Byron's lines from "The Destruction of
Sennacherib": "And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave
rolls nightly on deep Galilee."
A character or force against which another character struggles. Creon is Antigone's antagonist in
; Teiresias is the antagonist of Oedipus in Sophocles'
Oedipus the King
In Greek drama, that part of the ode in which the chorus moves from left to right, singing and
Addressing an inanimate object, a place, or an absent or imaginary person as if it were alive or
Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, which are not "heard" by the other characters
on stage during a play. In Shakespeare's
, Iago voices his inner thoughts a number of
times as "asides" for the play's audience.
The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence or a line of poetry or prose, as in "I rose and