Epigram is a rhetorical tool that may be a memorable, brief, exciting, and unexpected satirical statement. It originated from the Greek phrase epigramma, which means “inscription,” or “to inscribe.” Often imaginative or witty statements are taken into consideration as epigrams, such as this quote by way of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No you possibly can make you sense inferior without your consent.”
Oscar Wilde used an epigram on this quote:
“As long as war is seemed as wicked, it's going to usually have its fascination. When it's far seemed upon as vulgar, it will cease to be famous.”
Both of these epigrams are now not handiest thrilling and brief, but additionally satirical. The first one is set the feel of inferiority, whilst the second one is set war.
This literary tool is commonly used in poetry, where it seems as a quick satirical poem with a unmarried subject, finishing in an inventive or witty thought. Poets like Alexander Pope, John Donne, William Shakespeare, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge popularized epigram as a literary tool during the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Jane Wilde, an Irish poet, believed that epigrams had been much better than an argumentative speech.
Common Use of Epigram
Below are a few popular examples of epigram utilized in commonplace speech:
“Mankind need to put an end to battle, or struggle will positioned and give up to mankind.” – John F. Kennedy
“If we don’t quit struggle, war will quit us.” – G. Wells
“It is higher to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“A phrase to the smart ain’t necessary; it’s the silly ones who want all of the advice.” – Bill Cosby
“Live in reality, so that others may certainly live.” – Mother Teresa
“I’m beginning with the man within the mirror.” – Michael Jackson
“This is the instant when we need to come collectively to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will no longer leave our youngsters a global wherein the oceans upward push and famine spreads and horrible storms devastate our lands.” – Barack Obama
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” – Jesus Christ
Examples of Epigram in Literature
Example #1: Auguries of Innocence (By William Blake)
“To see a international in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
Blake wrote poetry approximately his existential and religious concepts at some point of his times. The above quotation, from Auguries of Innocence, have become very famous. The poem is full of punch traces, and the poet has laid incredible emphasis at the concept.
Example #2: Sonnet 76 (By William Shakespeare)
“So all my fine is dressing vintage words new,
Spending once more what's already spent:
For as the solar is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what's told.”
These four strains of a sonnet by Shakespeare are a good instance of an epigram. The poet refers to thoughts and items simultaneously as each new and vintage. He tries to mention that he has spent something, which he already has done. He is doing this to express perplexity with a lover, and additionally indicates his emotions of desire for sexuality.
Example #3: The Picture of Dorian Gray (By Oscar Wilde)
“There is simplest one thing inside the world worse than being talked approximately, and that isn't always being talked approximately.”
“Women are a decorative sex. They by no means have anything to mention, but they are saying it charmingly.”
“There isn't any such component as a moral or an immoral book. Books are nicely written, or badly written. That is all.”
Oscar Wilde was one of the most famous and professional writers for using epigrams. This novel is crammed with some of epigrams, and right here we have 3 distinguished examples.
Example #4: Hero and Leander (By John Donne)
“Both robb’d of air, we each lie in a single ground
Both whom one fireplace had burnt, one water drown’d.”
This is a good instance of epigram. While we can't see any apparent humor, the contradiction is clearly seen in how human beings could die with water and fireplace each. Therefore, the poem has some satirical purposes wrapped up in just two witty strains.
Function of Epigram
Epigram is a smart and witty assertion expressed in only a few strains, mentioning foibles and truths of mankind. This is very common in poetry, but we also discover it in prose, film, fiction writing, politics, and everyday speech. Epigrams serve the identical purpose as do maxims and proverbs. However, the main reason of using such statements is to leave a fantastic impression on the audience, as they demonstrate pure humor coupled with wisdom. Besides, writers use this literary tool to cause listeners and readers to suppose deeply approximately their statements.
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