Motif is an item or concept that repeats itself in the course of a literary work.
Motif and Theme
In a literary work, a motif may be visible as an image, sound, motion, or other discern that has a symbolic significance, and contributes closer to the improvement of a topic. Motif and topic are related in a literary work, however there is a distinction between them. In a literary piece, a motif is a recurrent image, concept, or image that develops or explains a subject matter, while a topic is a central concept or message.
Motif and Symbol
Sometimes, examples of motif are mistakenly diagnosed as examples of symbols. Symbols are photos, ideas, sounds, or phrases that represent some thing else, and assist to understand an idea or a thing. Motifs, on the opposite hand, are pics, ideas, sounds, or words that assist to provide an explanation for the central idea of a literary work – the subject matter. Moreover, a image may appear a few times in a literary work, whereas a motif is a habitual element.
Themes, Motifs, and Symbols in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
Let us attempt to recognize the distinction among theme, motif, and symbol through analyzing a literary work. In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, the primary plot revolves around two fundamental subject matters: the ever-present possibility of resurrection, and the necessity of sacrifice to result in a revolution.
One of the motif examples within the novel that develops these topics is the presence of Doubles: (1) the action takes vicinity in cities; (2) we find antagonistic doubles inside the shape of the woman characters Lucie and Madame Defarge. We also see recurrent photos of darkness within the narrative, which upload to the gloomy atmosphere.
Another motif is that of imprisonment, as every and every character struggles towards some type of imprisonment. Finally, there are masses of symbols within the narrative as well. The damaged wine cask is a image of people’s hunger; Madame Defarge knitting is a image of revenge, and Marquis is a character that stands for social disorder.
Examples of Motif in Literature
Example #1: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, we discover a habitual motif of incest, followed by incestuous desires of a few characters. Laertes speaks to his sister Ophelia in a way this is sexually explicit. Hamlet’s obsession with Gertrude’s sexual life with Claudius has an underlying tone of incestuous desire.
There is also a motif of hatred for women that Hamlet experiences in his dating with Gertrude and Ophelia. Hamlet expresses his disgust for girls in Scene 2 of Act I, as he says:
“Frailty, thy call is woman”
Example #2: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (By Mark Twain)
In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we see numerous motifs that guide the central concept of the narrative. The motif of childhood gives the unconventional a lighter tone, and makes it fun to read despite its grave central thoughts of slavery and racism. Both Huck and Tom are younger and flexible enough to go through a ethical education, and for that reason are more open-minded than adults. Another apparent motif in the narrative is superstition. Jim appears stupid to accept as true with in all styles of signs and symptoms and omens, however interestingly predicts the coming event.
Example #3: Heart of Darkness (By Joseph Conrad)
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has a motif of statement and eavesdropping. Marlow, the protagonist, gets information about the arena with the aid of either observing his surroundings or being attentive to the conversations of others. Similarly, there is any other obtrusive motif of contrast between the outdoors and the interior. Initially, Marlow is a person who keenly observes things and people from the surface, however as he maintains his adventure into the heart of darkness, he profits an insight into his deeper nature, as well as that of others.
Example #4: To Kill a Mocking Bird (By Harper Lee)
The central concept of the co-life of desirable and evil in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird is supported by means of numerous motifs. Lee strengthens the surroundings by means of a motif of Gothic details, in recurrent pix of gloomy and haunted settings, supernatural events, and a full moon. Another motif within the narrative is the small town existence of Maycomb, which depicts goodness and pleasantness in existence.
Function of Motif
Along with imparting a triumphing subject matter, writers encompass several motifs of their literary works as reinforcements. Motifs contribute in growing the essential topic of a literary work, and help readers to recognize the underlying messages that writers intend to talk to 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