Trope (literature)


A literary trope is the use of figurative
language – via word, phrase, or even an image – for artistic effect such as using
a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for
describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in
creative works. The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος,
“turn, direction, way”, derived from the verb τρέπειν, “to turn, to direct, to alter,
to change”. Tropes and their classification were an important
field in classical rhetoric. The study of tropes has been taken up again
in modern criticism, especially in deconstruction. Tropological criticism is the historical study
of tropes, which aims to “define the dominant tropes of an epoch” and to “find those tropes
in literary and non-literary texts”, an interdisciplinary investigation of whom Michel Foucault was
an “important exemplar”. A specialized use is the medieval amplification
of texts from the liturgy, such as in the Kyrie Eleison. The most important example of such a trope
is the Quem quaeritis?, an amplification before the Introit of the Easter Sunday service and
the source for liturgical drama. This particular practice came to an end with
the Tridentine Mass, the unification of the liturgy in 1570 promulgated by Pope Pius V. Examples
Rhetoricians have closely analyzed the great variety of “turns and twists” used in poetry
and literature and have provided an extensive list of precise labels for these poetic devices. Examples include:
hyperbole irony
litotes metaphor
metonymy oxymoron
synecdoche For a longer list, see Figure of speech: Tropes. Types
Allegory – A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a
whole discourse. For example: “The ship of state has sailed
through rougher storms than the tempest of these lobbyists.” Antanaclasis – is the stylistic trope of
repeating a single word, but with a different meaning each time. Antanaclasis is a common type of pun, and
like other kinds of pun, it is often found in slogans. Irony – creating a trope through implying
the opposite of the standard meaning, such as describing a bad situation as “good times”. Metaphor – an explanation of an object or
idea through juxtaposition of disparate things with a similar characteristic, such as describing
a courageous person as having a “heart of a lion”. Metonymy – a trope through proximity or
correspondence. For example, referring to actions of the U.S.
President as “actions of the White House”. Synecdoche – related to metonymy and metaphor,
creates a play on words by referring to something with a related concept: for example, referring
to the whole with the name of a part, such as “hired hands” for workers; a part with
the name of the whole, such as “the law” for police officers; the general with the specific,
such as “bread” for food; the specific with the general, such as “cat” for a lion; or
an object with the material it is made from, such as “bricks and mortar” for a building. See also Fantasy tropes and conventions
Invariance principle Literary topos
Scheme Stereotype
Tropological reading TV Tropes, a site dedicated to cataloguing
and studying tropes References and sources
References Sources
“Silva Rhetorica”. rhetoric.byu.edu. 

local_offerevent_note September 23, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson

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