Ambiguity, or fallacy of ambiguity, is a word, phrase, or statement which includes a couple of meaning. Ambiguous words or statements lead to vagueness and confusion, and shape the premise for times of unintentional humor.
For instance, it's miles ambiguous to say “I rode a black horse in crimson pajamas,” due to the fact it can lead us to think the pony was carrying red pajamas. The sentence will become clean while it's miles restructured as, “Wearing pink pajamas, I rode a black horse.”
Similarly, same words with different meanings can motive ambiguity, consisting of in, “John took off his trousers by way of the bank.” It is humorous if we confuse one meaning of “bank,” that's a building, to every other which means, which is “an fringe of a river.” Context commonly resolves any ambiguity in such cases.
Common Ambiguity Examples
Below are a few not unusual examples of ambiguity:
A true lifestyles relies upon on a liver – Liver may be an organ or surely a dwelling person.
Foreigners are hunting puppies – It is unclear whether or not dogs were being hunted, or foreigners are being spoken of as puppies.
Each of us noticed her duck – It is not clean whether the word “duck” refers to an motion of ducking, or a duck that is a bird.
The passerby helped dog chunk victim – Is the passerby helping a canine chunk someone? Or is he assisting someone who has been bitten with the aid of a canine? It’s no longer clear.
Examples of Ambiguity in Literature
Although ambiguity is taken into consideration a flaw in writing, many writers use this approach to permit readers to understand their works in a whole lot of ways, giving them depth and complexity. Let us examine a few ambiguity examples in literature.
Example #1: The Catcher inside the Rye (By J. D. Salinger)
Read the subsequent excerpt from The Catcher within the Rye via J. D. Salinger:
“I ran all the manner to the primary gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I haven't any wind, if you need to realize the truth. I’m pretty a heavy smoker, for one thing—that is, I used to be. They made me reduce it out. Another thing, I grew six and a half of inches ultimate year. That’s additionally how I nearly were given t.B. And got here out here for a majority of these goddam checkups and stuff. I’m pretty healthful though.”
The phrases “they” and “here” used by the speaker are ambiguous. But the readers are allowed to presume from the context that “they” might be the professionals supporting out Holden, and “here” might be a rehabilitation center.
Example #2: The Sick Rose (By William Blake)
The Sick Rose, a short lyric written by William Blake, is full of ambiguities:
“O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has observed out thy mattress
Of purple joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy lifestyles destroy”
Many of the phrases in the above lines show ambiguity. We can not say for positive what ” mattress of purple joy” means; neither are we able to be actual approximately the translation of “dark mystery love.” The ambiguous nature of such phrases permits readers to explore for deeper meanings of the poem.
Some of those who've analyzed this poem trust that “Has located out thy mattress / Of purple joy” refers to making love.
Example #3: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
On a bigger scale, ambiguity may additionally develop in a person, or in a whole story. For instance, Hamlet is a morally ambiguous person.
He kills to avenge his father’s murder
He is good because he wants to protect his mother
He is bad due to the fact he is inclined to kill whom he need to to reap this end
The ambiguity in Hamlet’s individual is visible while he is hurt by way of the dying of Ophelia, that is his non-public loss, but he does now not recognize the effect that his movements are going to have on others.
Example #4: Ode to a Grecian Urn (By John Keats)
We locate ambiguity within the first line of Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn:
“Thou nonetheless unravish’d bride of quietness…”
The use of the word “nevertheless” is ambiguous in nature. Here, it is able to mean “an unmoving object,” or it can be interpreted as “yet unchanged.”
Function of Ambiguity
Ambiguity in literature serves the motive of lending a deeper meaning to a literary work. By introducing ambiguity of their works, writers deliver liberty to readers to use their imagination to explore meanings. This lively participation of the readers includes them inside the prose or poetry they read.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw