Literary devices

In this section, we offer you an alphabetical listing of the most important literary devices present in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” together with explanations and clear examples from the text.

Accumulation (accumulation of terms): "I'll call thee Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane" (1.4.47)

Alliteration (repetition of letters or syllables at the beginning of words that are next to each other): "host of heaven" (1.5.98)

Antithesis (contrasting two opposing thoughts): "To be or not to be, that is the question" (3.1.64)

Antonomasia (renaming and substitution of a term with a characteristic property or signifying feature): "Sweets to the sweet: farewell! I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife" (5.1.225).

Apostrophe (address to an imaginary object or absent person): "Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd" (1.4.42) 

Asyndeton (enumeration of at least three words or phrases connected without a connective): "Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane!" (5.2.328).

Chiasmus (Cross word order in two identical or similar consecutive expressions): "'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity; And pity 'tis 'tis true" (2.2.105) 

Climax (enumeration of increasing words, often consisting of three parts): "But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no" (2.2.290-294).

Comparison (terms from different are...

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