Pleonasm is derived from a Greek phrase that means “excess.” It is a rhetorical device that may be defined as using or more phrases (a phrase) to specific an idea. These phrases are redundant, together with in these examples of pleonasm” “burning fire,” and “black darkness.” Sometimes, pleonasm is called “tautology,” which is the repetition of words.
Difference Between Oxymoron and Pleonasm
Oxymoron is a mixture of contradictory terms. It is the alternative of pleonasm. This can seem in different styles of texts due to an error, or used advertently to provide paradoxical meanings. For example, “I like a smuggler. He is the simplest honest thief.”
However, pleonasm is a combination of two or greater words which can be extra than those required for clear expression. For example, “I noticed it with my very own eyes.”
Types of Pleonasm
There are two kinds of pleonasm as given below:
This takes place when the grammatical language makes particular practical phrases optional which include:
“I recognize you may come.”
“I understand that you may come.”
In the given pleonasm examples, the conjunction “that” is optional at the same time as becoming a member of a verb word with a sentence. Although both sentences are accurate grammatically, the conjunction “that” is pleonastic.
Semantic pleonasm is associated more to the fashion of the language than the grammar, which includes given below:
“I am eating a tuna fish“
Here tuna is itself the name of a fish, and there is no want to add the word “fish.” Therefore, the word fish is pleonastic within the sentence.
Examples of Pleonasm in Literature
Example #1: Julius Caesar (By William Shakespeare)
“This become the most unkindest cut of all…”
In this excerpt, Shakespeare has intentionally used the term “maximum unkindest” as pleonastic. He should have used unkindest handiest; however, maximum is brought with a purpose to emphasize and supply an even clearer meaning.
Example #2: Molloy (By Samuel Beckett)
“Let me let you know this, while social workers provide you, loose, gratis and for nothing, something to preclude you from swooning, which with them is an obsession, it's far vain to recoil …”
In this example, the terms “free,” “gratis,” and “for nothing” have very similar meanings. The phrases are repeated to create linguistic and literary effects. In this way, the phrases free and not anything are highlighted. This is a semantic pleonasm.
Example #3: Eaters of the Dead (By Michael Crichton)
“All this I noticed with my personal eyes, and it changed into the maximum fearsome sight I ever witnessed…”
The term “my own” is pleonastic, considering that the word “my” could have been sufficient to expose possession. However, “own” is delivered to emphasise and make clear the which means of the word.
Example #4: City of the Beasts (By Isabel Allende)
“These terrible things I even have visible with my very own eyes, and I have heard with my very own ears, and touched with my personal hands…”
Here again, the feel of possession is expressed with the use of pleonasm. The phrase “own” is redundant in every bold word. This is a syntactic pleonasm.
Example #5: Paradise Lost (By John Milton)
“From that day mortal, and this happie State
Shalt loose, expell’d from consequently right into a World
Of woe and sorrow…”
Milton is famous for the use of pleonastic language. Here, the word “therefore” is employed in a redundant manner. In this context, the meaning of for this reason may want to be “due to the previous premise.” It also means “henceforth.” This is an instance of semantic pleonasm.
Example #6: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
“He become a man, take him for all in all, I shall now not look upon his like again…”
The dictum of Hamlet for his father, here the phrase “man,” provides semantic meanings to the male personality. This is likewise a semantic pleonasm this is related to the fashion of language, enhancing the that means of the phrase “man.”
Function of Pleonasm
Pleonastic words are employed to attain linguistic, poetic, and literary effects. Since they're used as a rhetorical repetition, they are helpful for reinforcing a contention, an idea, or a query rendering an expression less complicated and clearer to understand. Also, they serve as part of idiomatic language in professional and scholarly writing.
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