Exemplum is a rhetorical tool that is defined as a brief tale, narrative, or anecdote used in literary pieces and speeches to explain a doctrine, or emphasize a moral factor. They are usually in the sorts of legends, folktales, and fables.
An exemplum clarifies and proves a factor. The satisfactory examples of exemplum are discovered in memories of medieval times, which includes The Two City Dwellers and the Country Man, The King and His Wife, and The Cursed Dancers of Colbeck.
Characteristics of Exemplum
The plural shape of exemplum, additionally called “exemplification,” is “exempla.” Its situation matters are commonly based on folktales, legends, fables, and real life history; in which a moral factor is raised by means of emphasizing the best or awful traits of a character. The moral teaching in exemplum comes at the beginning, at the same time as a parable may have it at the end.
Types of Exemplum
Aristotle has divided exemplum into categories:
Real Exemplum – This is from mythology or real history.
Fictional Exemplum – These are from invented data expressed within the form of parables, fables, and brief comparisons.
Examples of Exemplum in Literature
Example #1: The Canterbury Tales (By Geoffrey Chaucer)
“A FRERE ther become, a wantown and a merye,
A limitour, a ful solempne guy.
In alle the ordres foure is noon that can
So muche of daliaunce and truthful langage.
He hadde maad ful many a mariage
Of yonge wommen, at his owne cost …
As doon the sterres inside the frosty night.
This worth limitour become cleped Huberd.”
This story is an instantaneous attack on the corruption within the Catholic Church throughout the 14th century in Europe. Two of the characters, “The Summoner” and “The Friar,” are criticized severely because of their evil acts and their greed. The exemplum is people who interact themselves in greed and extortion may be thrown into hell.
Example #2: Democracy (By Joan Didion)
“In Flaundres whylom become a companye
Of yonge folk, that haunteden folye,
As ryot, hasard, stewes, and tavernes,
Wher-as, with harpes, lutes, and giternes …
O cursed sinne, ful of cursednesse!
Thou blasphemour of Crist with vileinye
And with his precious herte-blood thee boghte,
Thou art so fals and so unkinde, allas!”
This is the Pardoners Tale from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It is a number of the exemplum examples that speak about how greed can ruin everything, and that it's far the motive of all evil. In this tale, no one got to claim the most coveted treasure, since the characters concerned ended up killing every other.
Example #3: Parallel Lives (By Plutarch)
“It being my purpose to put in writing the lives of Alexander the king, and of Cesar, by means of whom Pompey was destroyed, the multitude of their outstanding actions provides so large a field that I have been to blame … When as soon as Alexander had given way to fears of notable herbal influence, his mind grew so disturbed and so effortlessly alarmed … But a diseased dependancy of body, brought about with the aid of capsules which Olympias gave him, had ruined not best his health, however his understanding.”
The excerpt is set an exemplum of the legendary Alexander the Great. The moral factor of this narrative is that an character can trade a person’s, as properly as an entire nation’s, destiny. Plutarch suggests how, in history, characters like Alexander the Great have formed the destinies of states and individuals.
Example #4: The Legend of Cleopatra (By Geoffrey Chaucer)
“After the loss of life of Ptolemy the king,
Who of all Egypt had the governing,
There reigned his queen, Cleopatra;
And, reality to tell, Antonius become his name …
Now, where to find a guy as reliable,
Who will for love his death so freely take,
I pray God may in no way our heads so ache!”
This tale is set Cleopatra, and how many wicked guys betrayed her.
Function of Exemplum
Exemplum is one of the maximum extensively used rhetorical devices in written works and oratory. Initially, it turned into employed by using preachers in Christian homiletic writings, and memories in their sermons to guide audiences. Preachers used historical figures as desirable and awful examples to be able to encourage listeners to do desirable deeds and keep away from committing sin. Moreover, it's far used as a basic technique of argument and employed in ordinary existence.
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