Antithesis And Hyperbole Analysis

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Antithesis: A statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced. Example: “This most excellent canopy, the air,…no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 41-42) Function: After Hamlet confirms that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent by the king to spy on him, he offers to honestly tell them of how he is feeling. He states that he is depressed at the moment and finds everything to be lifeless. It is then that he begins depicting the air around them as something beautiful, but turns things around when he states that to him it is merely disgusting air. When Hamlet explains,“ this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul…”, the “why” adds a tone of confusion, hinting that not even Hamlet can explain as to why he feels this way about the air. The sentences that follow continue the pattern of being an antithesis, with Hamlet describing man with great admiration, but then contradicts what he just said with, “Man delights not me”. Hamlet’s usage of antithesis reflects how he repeatedly contradicts his own thoughts throughout the play. Because of his father’s recent death, Hamlet’s mentality is confused, uncertain, and pessimistic. His disinterest in the world he knows is beautiful confirms the depressed state he is in. Hyperbole: Intentional exaggeration to create an effect. Example: “He would drown the stage with tears..” (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 49) Function: The first player’s performance of the speech leaves Hamlet in an awed state. He then uses a hyperbole to say that if the player were to act out with the feelings that Hamlet himself had, “he would drown the stage with tears”. He uses this hyperbole to both show his admiration for the actor’s skill, and to reflect the passions that he is feeling toward his father’s death and his quest for
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