Pathetic fallacy is a literary tool that attributes human qualities and feelings to inanimate items of nature. The word pathetic in the term is not used within the derogatory sense of being miserable; rather, it stands for “imparting emotions to some thing else.”
Difference Between Pathetic Fallacy and Personification
Generally, pathetic fallacy is pressured with personification. The reality is they differ of their function. Pathetic fallacy is a type of personification that gives human feelings to inanimate objects of nature; for example, referring to weather features reflecting a temper. Personification, on the opposite hand, is a broader term. It offers human attributes to abstract ideas, animate gadgets of nature, or inanimate non-natural objects.
For example, the sentence “The somber clouds darkened our mood” is a pathetic fallacy, as human attributes are given to an inanimate object of nature reflecting a mood. But, the sentence “The sparrow talked to us” is a personification due to the fact the animate item of nature – the sparrow – is given the human nice of “talking.”
Examples of Pathetic Fallacy in Literature
Lets us examine a few examples of pathetic fallacy in literature:
Example #1: Macbeth (By William Shakespeare)
Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy in his play Macbeth to explain the dark murder of the character Duncan. In Act 2, Scene 3, Lennox says:
“The night time has been unruly. Where we lay,
Our chimneys have been blown down and, as they say,
Lamentings heard i’ th’ air, peculiar screams of death,
And prophesying with accents terrible
Of dire combustion and harassed events
New hatched to the woeful time. The difficult to understand bird
Clamored the livelong night time. Some say the Earth
Was feverous and did shake.”
The pathetic fallacy examples within the above traces describe the ominous ecosystem on the night of Duncan’s homicide. The unruly night, the screams of death in the air, and the feverous earth depict the evil act of murder that occurred a night time before.
Example #2: Wuthering Heights (By Emily Bronte)
Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights is full of pathetic fallacies. The name itself shows using this tool, as the word wuthering manner “blowing strongly with a roaring sound.” Therefore, “Wuthering Heights” way uproarious and aggressive weather that represents the character of its residents. There are plenty of instances inside the novel wherein the temper of nature portrays the nature of events in the narrative.
For example, the person Lockwood is trapped in a snow storm before the nightmare scene, the “wild and windy” night time on the time of Mr. Earnshaw’s death, the “violent thunderstorm” on the night time Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights, and the stormy climate out of doors while Cathy makes a desire among Heathcliff and Edgar suggests her internal turmoil.
Example #3: Ode to Melancholy (By John Keats)
Keats employs pathetic Fallacy in his Ode to Melancholy:
“But when the depression match shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud
That fosters the droop-headed flora all
And hides the green hills in an April shroud”
The feeling of despair has been defined with the aid of attributing the human emotion of weeping to the clouds.
Example #4: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (By William Wordsworth)
William Wordsworth, in his poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, says:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on excessive o’er vales and hills,”
The poet describes clouds as lonely, as a way to describe his personal state.
Example #5: Great Expectations (By Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens makes use of pathetic fallacy in his novel, Great Expectations. At the beginning of Chapter 39, his protagonist, Pip, comments on the “wretched weather”:
“Day after day, a considerable heavy veil had been using over London from the East, and it drove still, as if in the East there were an Eternity of cloud and wind. So furious had been the gusts, that high buildings in town had had the lead stripped off their roofs; and inside the country, trees have been torn up, and sails of windmills carried away; and gloomy money owed had come in from the coast, of shipwreck and death. Violent blasts of rain had accompanied those rages of wind, and the day just closed as I sat down to read were the worst of all.”
The furious gusts, and the rages of wind suggest the burdened internal international of Pip.
Function of Pathetic Fallacy
By employing pathetic fallacy, writers try and convey inanimate items to life, so that the nature of emotions they want to convey is thought in a higher way. This is because it is less complicated for readers to relate to summary feelings whilst they look at it of their natural surroundings. In addition, using pathetic fallacy encourages readers to broaden a perspective that is new as well as creative.
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