In literature, a foil is a individual that indicates characteristics that are in comparison with the characteristics of another person. The goal is to focus on the developments of the opposite person. The time period foil, though commonly being carried out to a contrasting person, can also be used for any contrast that is drawn to portray a distinction between two things.
What we have a look at in literature very often is that a foil is a secondary character who contrasts with the major individual to beautify the importance of the major individual. The etymology of the time period foil testifies the aforementioned assertion as the word is taken from the practice of backing gem stones with foil (tool), so that they shine greater brightly.
Examples of Foil in Literature
Example #1: Paradise Lost (By John Milton)
Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book I, is based at the evaluation of two contrasting characters: God and Satan. Satan, within the whole work, seems as a foil to God. The negative traits of Satan and the nice trends of God are frequently compared, which consequently brings to the surface no longer most effective the assessment between the two characters, but also “justify the methods of God…” We reach a end that it is handiest just for Satan to be expelled from the paradise because of his refusal to offer in to the need of God.
Example #2: Wuthering Heights (By Emily Bronte)
In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte depicts two contrasting settings that are foils to each different. The whole action of the narrative takes location in neighboring houses: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. While describing Wuthering Heights in bankruptcy 12, the narrator says:
“There was no moon, and everything below lay in misty darkness: not a light gleamed from any house, far or near all had been extinguished long ago: and people at Wuthering Heights had been in no way visible…”
The description of Thrushcross Grange, in evaluation to the Wuthering Heights, creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
“Gimmerton chapel bells were nonetheless ringing; and the full, mellow float of the beck within the valley got here soothingly at the ear. It become a sweet replacement for the but absent murmur of the summer time foliage, which drowned that music approximately the Grange when the trees have been in leaf.”
The foils in these settings also help within the development of the foils within the characters, as the human beings from Wuthering Heights are unsophisticated, and are foils to the ones from Thrushcross Grange, who have a cultured disposition.
Example #3: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (By Robert Louis Stevenson)
In his novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson explores the theme of doppelganger in which Hyde isn't always only an evil double of the honorable Dr. Jekyll, but additionally qualifies as his foil. Dr. Jekyll creates Hyde through a series of medical experiments, which will show his statement:
“Man isn't genuinely one, but really two.”
He way that the human soul is a aggregate of evil and good. In different words, every man’s foil exists in himself. Hyde is the manifestation of the evil that existed in in any other case honorable Dr. Jekyll. Being a decent Victorian gentleman, Jekyll can by no means satisfy his evil desires. Therefore, he separates his “evil-self,” giving him a separate identity, and consequently invents his own foil.
Example #4: Julius Caesar (By William Shakespeare)
Foil examples also are discovered in plays. We note in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar a twofold foil. Cassius is a foil to Brutus, and Brutus is a foil to Antony. Both Cassius and Brutus conspire to kill Caesar, but Cassius is greater at risk of treachery than Brutus is, and for that reason easily offers in to his evil ambition.
Brutus, on the other hand, hesitates to join the plot without cautious analysis of the entire scenario. Cassius even is going to the quantity that he does no longer turn away from writing phony letters to persuade Brutus to sign up for the plot. Brutus, in comparison, is bent on counting on his own reason, and his awareness of his dignified responsibilities as a Roman, to do the inevitable. Moreover, Brutus is a foil to Antony because Brutus’s honesty and ease are in clear evaluation to Antony’s qualities of deception and over-ambition.
Function of Foil
In fiction, a foil is important in the improvement of the story’s characters. The evaluation of the contrasting traits of the characters enables the readers to not most effective apprehend their personalities, however additionally to recognise the importance of their roles in a work of literature.
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