Metalepsis is derived from the Greek word metōnymia, which means “substitution” or “sharing.” It is a determine of speech like metonymy or metaphor. However, it's miles an advanced shape of figurative speech in which one issue refers to another issue this is most effective slightly associated with it. There are two methods to make this association. One is through showing causal courting to seemingly unrelated things. The other is thru oblique intermediate alternative of terms.
Features of Metalepsis
Metalepsis is a reference wherein a word or a phrase taken from figurative speech is employed in a new context. Metalepsis is also referred to as transumption. According to Werner Wolf, “It is a fictional illustration that consists of various stages and worlds, among which unconventional transgression takes place.”
Metalepsis regularly conveys metaphorical expression by using a word associated with a factor that it is being referred to. In addition, this parent of speech can be a reference for a literary work, such as if any person says, “Something smells in Denmark,” it'd be taken into consideration to be a connection with Shakespeare’s well-known play Hamlet.
Examples of Metalepsis in Literature
Example #1: Macbeth (By William Shakespeare)
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps on this petty tempo from day to day,
To the ultimate syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The manner to dusty death. . . .
Life’s but a on foot shadow, a poor player….”
There are many examples of metalepsis in Shakespeare’s works, due to the fact that he multiplies metaphors and duplicates figures of speech in various guises. He works on one figure, and then movements onto the following and keeps from in which he started out off. There is a concatenation of various figures that speedy pile on one another as proven in bold.
Example #2: Out, Out (By Robert Frost)
“As he swung towards them preserving up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as though to keep
The lifestyles from spilling…”
In those lines, the poet makes connection with keeping the “existence from spilling,” which means the spilling of blood. He makes a connection among blood and existence, which means too much loss of blood shows loss of human lifestyles.
Example #3: Lycidas (By John Milton)
“But now my oat proceeds,
And listens to the bring in of the sea
That came in Neptune’s plea,
He asked the waves, and requested the felon winds,
What tough mishap hath doomed this gentle swain?”
In the passage above, Milton uses “oat” as a musical instrument this is made from an oat stalk. Therefore, the word “oat” is hired as a connection with the music that the poet composes beside the ocean.
Example #4: Gone with the Wind (By Margaret Mitchell)
“I’m mighty glad Georgia waited till after Christmas earlier than it secedes or it'd have ruined the Christmas parties.”
Here, Georgia is used to broaden a dating between politicians, authorities, and citizens. It is now commonplace to use the name of a rustic to consult its government and its complete nation.
Example #5: Dr. Faustus (By Christopher Marlowe)
“Was this the face that released one thousand ships
and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? “
A reference is made right here to a mythological parent called Helen of Troy, who became abducted by Paris, which led to the concept of using one thousand ships for beginning the Trojan war. Here, the word “face” is used as metalepsis.
Function of Metalepsis
Generally, it's miles hired in a literary text to broaden symbolism and metaphor, with the aid of giving profound meanings to ideas and objects. By the usage of metalepsis, the text indicates deeper and hidden meanings, and consequently draws the attention of readers. In addition, it adds greater poetic impact to the piece of writing. The readers are supplied with allusions using another discern of speech so as to make them apprehend the hidden that means communicated through it.
Also, it's miles used in literary comedies due to the fact the words in allusion could reason a comical exaggeration. However, in narratology, metalepsis plays with the shape of a fictional book, since the narrator may appear separated from the action, however he interacts in the middle of the story to create heightened impact and deeper meanings for the readers. A survey of metalepsis examples will help us apprehend the functions of this device.
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