Wit has originated from an old English time period wit, which means “to know.” It is a literary device used to make the readers laugh. Over the years, its meanings have stored changing. Today, it is related to laughter and comedy. It is, in fact, a smart expression of thought; whether innocent or aggressive, with or without any disparaging intent toward something or someone.
Wit has paradoxical and mocking quality, and conjures up laughter thru apt phrasing. It is a cleverly woven expression and concept that evokes pride and entertainment while used appropriately. Wit has traditionally been a specific signal of a cultivated intellect and mind. It was often found in poetry, however level plays have been also full of wit, specially at some point of the Restoration Period. In present day times, wit is a hallmark of political and social writings.
Examples of Wit in Literature
Example #1: The Good Morrow (by using John Donne)
“My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true undeniable hearts do within the faces rest;
Where are we able to find two higher hemispheres,
Without sharp north, with out declining west?
Whatever dies, was now not mixed equally;
If our loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.”
John Donne has used masses of wit and conceit on this poem. He has provided a assessment between his liked and two hemispheres which form the earth. This unusual comparison among the speaker and his liked makes the reader sense pleased, making it an amazing example of using wit in a poem.
Example #2: Canto-I, The Rape of the Lock (by using Alexander Pope)
“The Rape of the Lock” has an abundance of scintillating and sparkling wit. In fact, via his wit, Alexander Pope has made a comedian attack on a society preoccupied with superficialities. It is a witty satire that ridicules idleness, laziness, follies, frivolities, shallowness, hypocrisy, and vanities of aristocratic girls of the eighteenth century. He offers his readers an amusing photo of the girls of his time.
“Say what abnormal motive, goddess! may want to compel
A well-bred lord to assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplored,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In duties so bold, can little men have interaction?
And in soft bosoms dwells such effective rage?”
In this example, Pope brings into question whether “little men” can engage the confidence of women – in whose bosoms is located extremely good anger. Only Pope may want to have coined this wit.
Example #3: The Importance of Being Earnest (by way of Oscar Wilde)
The dialogues in Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest, are full of wit, paradoxical twists, epigrams, and humor. For instance, the character Algernon Moncrieff delivers a witty announcement that “Divorces are made in heaven,” that's an modification of any other assertion, “Marriages are made in heaven.” A pronouncing that “Two is organisation and three is none” flows into some other naughty implication, “In married life 3 is corporation and is none.” The person, John “Jack” Worthing, also makes use of witty statements in talking to Algernon, announcing that “Some aunts are tall, a few aunts are not tall. You appear to suppose that each aunt have to be exactly like your aunt.”
Example #4: A Modest Proposal (with the aid of Jonathan Swift)
A Modest Proposal via Jonathan Swift is another suitable instance of sharp wit and biting sarcasm. His proposal is brief, in that the government of Ireland can remedy its economic troubles by means of allowing poor households to promote their kids as a source of meals for the wealthy. By doing this, Swift suggests, the impoverished families should be beneficial to society.
Swift gives you sarcastic and witty statements in opposition to landlords with the aid of saying, “I furnish this food can be particularly dear, and therefore very right for the landlords, who, as they have got already devoured most of the parents, appear to have the nice name to the children.”
Wit is frequently utilized in literature, public speeches, media, politics, ordinary conversation, and plenty of other fields of life. An inferior form of wit lies inside the use of word play, oxymorons, puns, and paradoxes, whereas higher wit appears within the use of conceits, metaphors, and arguments. By wise wit, writers mock the social foibles and follies of society; frequently using paradoxical expressions, which seem to appreciate the ones foibles, however, in fact, they may be disparaging.
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