Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 10 English Literature Poem Chapter 5 Literary Terms

1. SIMILE
Simile involves a direct comparison between two objects and can be recognized by the use of the words “like’ and ‘as’. In a simile the objects brought for comparison should be of different species. The dissimilarity of objects is necessary for a simile. Example:

  • As idle as a painted ship.
  • Her lips are as tender as petals of a rose. The use of a simile enables the poet to convey his idea effectively.

2. METAPHOR
Metaphor is a figure of speech belonging to sense devices in English literature. It is rather like a simile except that the comparison is not direct but implied. The words like’ and ‘as’ are not used as marks of identification. The example “He is as cruel as a tiger” illustrates the use of a simile; but “He is the tiger of this town” illustrates the use of metaphor.

3. SONNET
It is a lyric poem, which are consists of fourteen iambic pentameter lines linked by a definite rhyme scheme. In English literature sonnet is divided in two categories;

  • ‘Italian’ or ‘Petrarchan’
  • The English sonnet or the Shakespearean sonnet.

The Petrarchan sonnet falls into two parts: an octave (eight lines) rhyming

abba abba and a sestet (six lines) rhyming cde cde or some variant, such as cdc cdc. in the sixteenth later a new form called the English or the Shakespearean sonnet was developed. This stanza this sonnet falls into three quatrains and a concluding couplet with the rhyaming scheme as a b a b, c d c d, e f e f, g g.

4. RHYME
Rhyme is a figure of speech which is related to sound devices in English literature. It occurs at the line endings in poetry. It consists of words, which have the same sound; the letter preceding the vowels must be unlike in sound; for example, ‘night’ and ‘sight’ are true rhymes. If rhymes are used too much, the poem becomes monotonous.

Blank verse uses the rhyme in a balanced manner. In heroic couplets. There is no excessive use of rhymed verse.

5. RYTHM
Poetry has much in common with music. In poems the sounds flow in a definite pattern which appeals to our ear. The rhythm always helps to convey the poet’s intention and gives us indication of his mood; for example in The Ancient Mariner’ how the rythm of the lines “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, matches the speed of the ship. When the ship stops, the rythm changes and pace of the poem becomes much slower.

6. ALLITERATION
In English literature alliteration is a figure of speech which belongs to sound devices in English literature. It involves repetition of the same sound at a frequent interval in the same line; for example, in the lines from The Ancient Mariner’ by S.T. Coleridge “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew” the repeated “bs’ and ‘fs’ make the lines run quickly and give impression of a ship travelling at high speed. At the same time the lines, create a great musical effect and sooth the ears of the listeners.

7. ELEGY
In Greek and Roman literature, an Elegy was any poem in England, the term was often applied to any poem of solemn meditation. In present critical usage, an elegy is a formal and sustained poem of lament for the death of a friend, e.g, Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam’. Sometimes the term is broadly used for meditative poems, such as Gray’s ‘Elegy Written
in a Country Churchyard’. The Pastoral elegy represents both the mourner and the poet. Nature also joins in the mounting. Finally, the poet realizes that death is a reunion with God. The most notable English Pastoral elegies are Milton’s “Lycidas”, Shelley’s “Adonais” and Arnold’s “Thyrisis”.

Goldsmith’s ‘An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog’, is an example of a modified version of the conventional concept of Elegy.

8. DRAMATIC IRONY
Irony is a contrast between appearance and reality. It is a device generally used by dramatist to provide universality to his drama. It is also a contrast between two aspects of the same situation or remark. It may be found in a situation or dialogue where some of the characters are ignorant of certain facts, which are known to other characters and to the audience. The character utters words but himself does not know the deep meaning of this utterance. Other characters and the audience know the meaning and understand the significance of these words. Shakespeare has used this device frequently and abundantly in ‘Macbeth.’

9. COMEDY
A form of drama that is intended to amuse and that ends happily. Since comedy strives to amuse, both wit and humor are utilized.

English comedy developed from native dramatic forms growing out of the religious drama, the morality plays and interludes, and the performances of wandering entertainers. In the Renaissance, the rediscovery of Latin comedy and the effort of classical criticism to drama significantly affected the course of English comedy. Foreign influences have also been important at times, such as the French influence on Restoration comedy or the Italian influence on Jacobean pastoral drama.

In medieval times, the word comedy was applied to non-dramatic literary compositions marked by a happy ending e.g., Dante’s Divine Comedy.

10. TRAGEDY
Tragedy as a dramatic form refers to a serious play. In tragedy the hero becomes engaged in a conflict, experiences great suffering and is finally defeated and dies.

The classical conception of tragedy, is defined by Aristotle in his ‘Poetics’. It involves a hero of noble stature whose fortunes are reversed is a result of a weakness in an otherwise noble nature. The Middle Ages, conceived tragedy merely a tale of an eminent person passing from happiness to misery. He is shown as a victim of fate. In England, tragedy began during the Elizabethan times. The chief influences, were classical: the ‘Poetics’ of Aristotle and the tragedies of Roman Philosopher, Seneca. In the later part of the sixteenth-century, however, playwrights, produced dramas that varied widely in form and structure. These plays culminated in the Shakespeare tragedies. “King Lear”, “Hamlet”, “Macbeth” are usually considered as the highest achievements of English stage.

11. PLOT
Plot may be defined as the plan or outline of the events of the story of a novel or drama. It forms the backbone of the play. The plot of a drama should include only those events that can be represented by characters on the stage. It is governed by the limitation of the stage. A good plot is more than a mere sequence of events. Events are selected and arranged with a dramatic effect in such a way that irrelevances are emitted. For Aristotle, Plot is the life blood and soul of tragedy. The plot must be true to the function of tragedy,i.e., to arouse the emotions of pity and fear and then to seek for their catharsis. So, the plot must have the beginning,the middle, and the end.

12. DRAMA
It is a work written to be performed by actors on a stage. Most dramatic works can be classified as tragedy or comedy.

The great classical writers of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides (in Greece) and the Roman philosopher, Seneca. Well-known comic writers of antiquity included the Greek, Aristophanes, and the Romans, Plautus and Menander.

Medieval drama, it took the form of mystery, miracle and morality plays. Melodrama and spectacle predominated in most nineteenth century drama until the end of the century. Shorter plays stressed ideas, problems or situations which began to appear during the period.

13. SHORT STORY
A short story is a work of prose fiction. Which differs from the anecdote. It has a beginning and develops through middle to some sort of denouement at the end. The plot form may be comic or tragic or romantic or satiric. It may be written in the mode of fantasy, realism or naturalism.

But the short story, differs from the novel in the dimension.

14. PROBLEM PLAY
Problem play is a fairly recent dramatic device. It was popularized by Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The problem play depicts a particular social problem e.g., women’s right, slavery, drug, abuse etc. and attempts chiefly to arouse interest in the problem to explore it.

One sub type of the problem play is the discussion play in which the social issue is not incorporated into a plot, but expounded in the dramatic give and take of a sustained debate among the characters for example Shaw’s Man and Superman. There are other terms like thesis play and propaganda play they are often linked with the type of the problem play. Interestingly all these types are essentially didactic forms.

15. ESSAY
The essay refers to any brief composition in prose to express a point of view, or persuade us to accept a thesis on any subject whatever. The essay is addressed to a general rather than a specialized audience; It discusses its subject matter in non technical fashion, and often with a liberal use of such devices as anecdote, illustration, and humour to enhance its appeal.

A usual distinction is often made between the formal and informal essay. The formal essay is relatively impersonal in nature. The author writes as an authority on the subject and examines it in an ordered and thorough fashion. Examples will be found in the serious articles on current topics and issues in any of the magazines, addressed to a thoughtful audience.

In the informal essay the author assumes a tone of intimacy with his audience and tends to be concerned with everyday things rather than with public affairs or specialized topics and writes in a relaxed, self-revelatory and often whimsical fashion.

16. HYPERBOLE
Hyperbole, is a figure of speech, which involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis.

It is a device that we employ in our day-to-day speech. For instances, when we meet a friend after a long time, we say, “Ages have passed since I last saw you”. We may not have met him for three or four hours or a day, but the use of the word “ages” exaggerates this statement to add emphasis to our wait. Therefore, a hyperbole is an unreal exaggeration to emphasize the real situation. Some other common Hyperbole example are given below:

  • She is as heavy as an elephant!
  • My grandmother is as old as the hills
  • I am dying of shame
  • Your suitcase weighs a ton!

It is important not to confuse hyperbole with simile and metaphor. It does make a comparison but unlike simile and metaphor, hyperbole has a humorous effect created by an overstatement.