A pun is a play on words that produces a humorous impact through using a word that suggests or greater meanings, or by using exploiting similar sounding phrases that have extraordinary meanings.
Humorous effects created by puns rely on the ambiguities the words entail. These ambiguities arise typically in homophones and homonyms. For instance, inside the sentence, “A glad existence depends on a liver,” the word liver can talk to the physical organ, or simply a person who lives. Similarly, within the saying “Atheism is a non-prophet institution,” the word “prophet” is used instead of “profit” to produce a humorous impact.
Common Pun Examples
In regular existence, pun examples are found deliberately or accidentally, utilized in jokes and witty remarks.
The existence of a affected person of high blood pressure is constantly at steak.
Why do we nevertheless have troops in Germany? To hold the Russians in Czech.
A horse is a totally stable
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
An elephant’s opinion carries plenty of weight.
What is the difference among a conductor and a teacher? The conductor minds the trainand a trainer trains the mind.
Examples of Pun in Literature
In literature, puns have been used by using famous writers in the course of history.
Example #1: William Shakespeare
In building puns, William Shakespeare became a grasp craftsman. We locate many examples of puns in his plays. Let us have a look at a number of them:
“It is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied.” (Richard III)
“Now is the wintry weather of our discontent … made wonderful summer by this sun of York.” (Richard III)
“Not I, trust me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I even have a soul of lead” (Romeo and Juliet)
Claudius: “… But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son…” Hamlet: [aside] “A little extra than kin, and less than kind.” (Hamlet)
Example #2: A Hymn to God the Father (By John Donne)
John Donne’s A Hymn to God the Father has several examples of pun.
“When Thou hast done, Thou hast now not finished for I actually have greater.
That at my death Thy Son / Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore
And having done that, Thou hast achieved;
I fear no extra.”
He is playing together with his call Donne, and with the name of his spouse Anne More. Besides, he uses Son, regarding the Christ, as opposed to the solar.
Example #3: The Importance of being Earnest (By Oscar Wilde)
Oscar Wilde employs puns in his play The Importance of being Earnest. Jack Earnest tells Aunt Augusta, in Act III:
“On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the crucial Importance of Being Earnest.”
Similarly, in Act III we see Jack puns his own family name again:
“I usually told you, Gwendolen, my name changed into Ernest, didn’t I? Well, it's miles Ernest after all. I suggest it certainly is Ernest.”
Here Jack discovers his father’s call, which makes him virtually earnest.
Example #4: Great Expectations (By Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens plays round with words in his novel Great Expectations. In his beginning chapter, Pip says:
“They appeared to suppose the possibility lost, if they failed to factor the verbal exchange to me, each now and then, and stick the factor into me”
Note the pun in the use of the phrase “point.” We see another exciting instance in Chapter 2:
“Tickler become a wax-ended piece of cane, worn clean by using collision with my tickled frame.”
The creator puns the phrase “tickle”.
Example #5: Lolita (By Vladimir Nabokov)
We notice a completely unique use of multilingual puns in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. For instance, the call of the person Humbert is a pun in two languages. In French it means “Shadow,” and in Spanish it means “guy.” Similarly, Lolita changing her call to “Dolores,” which means “pain” in Latin, and her nickname “Dolly” refers to a toy in English.
Function of Pun
Apart from being witty and humorous, puns add profound meanings to texts, and form the way wherein the text is interpreted by means of the readers. By playing with the phrases, the writers reveal their cleverness and the cleverness in their characters. Besides, puns in a literary works act as a supply of comic relief, or an intentional attempt on the part of the author, to reveal his or her creative capacity in using language.
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