Dichotomy is from the Greek phrase dichotomia, which means “dividing in two.” Dichotomy is a literary technique that divides a issue into identical and contradictory components, or among two opposing groups. In literary works, writers use this method for developing conflicts in their stories and plays. Its common examples in literature are proper and evil, soul and body, actual and imaginary, heaven and hell, male and female, and savage and civilized, amongst others. Often, dichotomy appears in a single character; however, sometimes writers use separate characters for representing opposing ideas.
Use of Dichotomy in Everyday Speech
We need to enhance infrastructure of this country; therefore, we will must boost taxes.
He is simple, but strangely entangled in intuition.
The earnings of this enterprise is increasing; at the same time as its revenue, on the opposite hand, is decreasing.
U.S. Society claims to be the most affluent society within the world, however still there may be a clean demarcation among rich and poor.
Examples of Dichotomy in Literature
Example #1: Doctor Faustus (By Christopher Marlowe)
Good Angel: “O Faustus! Lay that damned e-book aside,
And gaze now not upon it lest it tempt thy soul.”
Evil Angel: “Go forward, Faustus, in that famous art,
Wherein all Nature’s treasure is contain’d …”
Good Angel: “Sweet Faustus, consider Heaven, and heavenly matters.”
Evil Angel: “No, Faustus, think about honour and of wealth.”
This is the maximum notable example of dichotomy, in which right and awful angels represent two elements of Faustus’s consciousness. Good angel asks Faustus to repent, and ensures his course to heaven; at the same time as horrific angel asks him to are looking for power, lust, and knowledge that could result in everlasting damnation.
Example #2: Heart of Darkness (By Joseph Conrad)
Conrad has employed distinct dichotomies in his novel Heart of Darkness, together with mild as opposed to darkish, turmoil as opposed to calmness, and savagery as opposed to civilization. In this story, the most sizeable dichotomy is savagery and civilization, as within the novel the imperialistic powers are of the view that they're representing civilization, whilst the natives are symbolizing savagery.
However, as the tale progresses, the civilized imperialistic powers are engaged in brutality against the locals. Kurtz himself gives an instance of dichotomy as, even though he is a modern-day civilized man, he turns into savage and brutal even as living among savages. He realizes this ultimately announcing, “The horror…the horror.”
Example #3: As You Like It (William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare opens his play, As You Like It, via providing a dichotomy of metropolis as opposed to country existence, wherein the pastoral mood relies upon on this evaluation. In Act I, Scene I of the play, Orlando talks approximately existence’s injustices with Oliver, and complains by saying that he “know[s] no wise remedy how to avoid it.“
When later on this scene, Charles shows a relation among Duke Senior’s whereabouts and his followers, the remedy becomes clear as he says:
“… in the woodland of Ardenne … many younger gentlemen … fleet the time carelessly, as they did within the golden world.”
Many human beings heal within the dense forest, lovers unite, and duke returns to his throne. However, Shakespeare reminds his readers that lifestyles isn't always permanent in Ardenne. As the characters get equipped to move again to the court, the writer does no longer favor country lifestyles over metropolis existence. Instead, he suggests a vital and delicate balance among these facets.
Example #4: Beowulf (By Anonymous)
You can find a best instance of dichotomy within the antique English poem, Beowulf. This one expounds upon the subject matter of precise versus evil, wherein Beowulf is a great character, and 3 monsters are evil characters. Beowulf is a larger-than-life personality, who kills Grendel, his mother, in addition to the dragon. As a descendent of Cain, Grendel is evil, selfish, and strives for personal gain. Beowulf is a successful hero, who fights for others, serves them, and defends them.
This poem also contains the dichotomy of light versus darkness, consisting of while Grendel seems to attack on mead hall at night, which indicates evil and darkish attacking true and light. Like Grendel, loss of life represents darkness, while treasures Beowulf receives represent light.
Function of Dichotomy
You can find using dichotomy in literature, linguistics, philosophy, politics, mathematics, and lifestyles science, which is proof of its huge scope. Since it provides a striking assessment between two opposite objects or persons, it gives a higher understanding to the readers with the aid of emphasizing the differences between opposite features of things, or the same element. In other words, it permits the readers to see conflicting aspects with greater clarity. It is also a completely beneficial literary device to identify matters and ideas, and to distinguish contradictions among them.
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