Complete List Stylistic Devices

Complete List of Stylistic Devices




Adynaton (plural adynata) (from Greek: a-: without and dynasthai: to be powerful) is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to suggest a complete impossibility.

I cannot speak enough of this content

It stops me here; it is too much of joy.

—Shakespeare, Othello 2.1.196-97


As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor.

A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice.

Justice to break her sword ! One more, one more.
(3318- Act 5, Scene 2)


(Alliteration Stabreim)

Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of neighbouring words

alliteration: links words by the initial letter (“the wind whistles”)

Effect: sound device, musical effect

Example: O wild west wind, …;

Full fathoms five thy father lies,..

Allusion (Anspielung)

Allusion (Anspielung)

A reference to a famous person or event; may be literary, historical, biblical, …


Effect: emphasis, to give credibility, to show off one´s education

Allusion [E`lu:Gn] (Anspielung):
a brief reference to a person, place, thing, event or idea in history or literature. Allusions require common reading and cultural experiences shared by the writer and the reader. (v. to allude to sth., n. an allusion to sth.)
The old man and the computer (allusion to The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway)

alternate rhyme:

alternate rhyme: abab,

envelope pattern: abba,

tail rhyme: abcabc.


Ambiguity [ÃmbI`gju:Eti] (Ambiguität, Zwei-/Mehrdeutigkeit):
the deliberate use of a word or phrase that has two or more relevant meanings.
Ambiguity is the basis for a lot of wordplay. (adj. ambiguous [Ãm`bIgjUEs]))


An accidental or deliberate inconsistency in some chronological arrangement, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other.


Posing a question to an audience, often with the implication that it shares a common interest with the speaker.

"And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could I

have done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" Isaiah 5:3-4


An anacoluthon (pronounced /ænəkəˈluːθɒn/ AN-ə-kə-LOO-thon; from the Greek, anakolouthon, from an-: 'not' + akolouthos: 'following') is a rhetorical device that can be loosely defined as a change of syntax within a sentence. More specifically, anacoluthons (or "anacolutha") are created when a sentence abruptly changes from one structure to another. Grammatically, anacoluthon is an error; however, in rhetoric it is a figure that shows excitement, confusion, or laziness.

"Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart."


Anadiplosis (pronounced /ænədɨˈploʊsɨs/, AN-ə-di-PLOH-sis; from the Greek: ἀναδίπλωσις, anadíplōsis, "a doubling, folding up") is the repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence.

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." —Yoda, Star Wars


Anangeon is the admission of a charge, but then excusing it by stating its necessity.


Yes, I shot him, but it was kill or be killed.

Indeed I kissed her, but if I had turned away it would have embarrassed the poor thing.

Sorry about the noise but I need to get to work.


two unstressed –stressed (xx/, “marguerite”)

Anaphora (Anapher)

Anaphora (Anapher)

The same word or expression is repeated at the beginning of 2 or more lines or sentences

Example: Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Effect: emphasis


Anastrophe is a figure of speech involving an inversion of a language's ordinary order of words; for example, saying "smart you are" to mean "you are smart". In English, with its settled natural word order, departure from the expected word order emphasizes the displaced word or phrase: "beautiful" is emphasized in the City Beautiful urbanist movement; "primeval" comes to the fore in Longfellow's line "This is the forest primeval." Where the emphasis that comes from anastrophe is not an issue, "inversion" is a perfectly suitable synonym.

Yoda from the Star Wars series commonly uses anastrophe.

"Told you, I did. Reckless is he. Now matters are worse."

"Mind what you have learned. Save you it can."

"If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."


antanaclasis: A form of pun in which a word is repeated in two different senses In rhetoric, antanaclasis ("reflection") 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.

"Put out the light, then put out the light." —Shakespeare's Othello

"She is nice from far, but far from nice!" – popular saying


In rhetoric, anthimeria, traditionally and more properly called antimeria is the use of a word as if it were a member of a different word class (part of speech); typically, the use of a noun as if it were a verb.

"The thunder would not peace at my bidding". (Shakespeare, King Lear, IV, vi.)

"I'll unhair thy head." (Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, II, v.)


Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to animals or non-living things, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts. Examples include animals and plants and forces of nature such as winds, rain or the sun depicted as creatures with human motivations, and/or the abilities to reason and converse.


a smiling moon, a jovial sun

In "Mirror" by Sylvia Plath, for example, the mirror--the "I" in the first line--is given the ability to speak, see and swallow, as well as human attributes such as truthfulness.

I am silver and exact.

I have no preconceptions.

Whatever I see I swallow immediately

Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.

I am not cruel, only truthful[...]



Often surprising descent from the important to the unimportant, normally in a series of statements

Example: He pawned his life, his watch and his word.

Effect: surprise, humour


In rhetoric, antimetabole (pronounced /æntɨməˈtæbəli/ AN-ti-mə-TAB-ə-lee) is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order (e.g., "I know what I like, and I like what I know"). It is similar to chiasmus although chiasmus does not use repetition of the same words or phrases.

"Eat to live, not live to eat" - Attributed to Socrates

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us." Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet, Washington Heights, NY, March 29, 1964.

"With my mind on my money, and my money on my mind." Snoop Dogg

"Fair is foul and foul is fair." The witches, Macbeth


An antiphrasis is a figure of speech that is a word used to mean the opposite of its usual sense, especially ironically. The use of a word or phrase in a sense contrary to its normal meaning for ironic or humorous effect, as in a mere babe of 40 years.

Antithesis (Gegenüberstellung zweier Gedanken

Antithesis (Gegenüberstellung zweier Gedanken)

Contrasting statements are balanced against each other.

Example: To err is human, to forgive divine.

Effect: to create emphasis


antonomasia: Substitution of a phrase for a proper name or vice versa


aphorism: Tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion, an adage aphorism: Tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion, an adage


apophasis: Invoking an idea by denying its invocation*apostrophe:


Aporia (Ancient Greek: ἀπορία: impasse; lack of resources; puzzlement; doubt; confusion) denotes, in philosophy, a philosophical puzzle or state of puzzlement, and, in rhetoric, a rhetorically useful expression of doubt.


Aposiopesis (pronounced /ˌæpəsaɪ.əˈpiːsɪs/ from Classical Greek, ἀποσιώπησις, "becoming silent") is a rhetorical device wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue. An example would be the threat "Get out, or else—!" This device often portrays its users as overcome with passion (fear, anger, excitement) or modesty. To mark the occurrence of aposiopesis with punctuation an em dash or an ellipsis may be used.


archaism: Use of an obsolete, archaic, word(a word used in olden language, e.g. Shakespeare's language)


Assonance (Gleichklang)

The repetition of the same or similar vowel sounds within stressed syllables or neighbouring words

Example: fate and lake

Effect: musical

Assonance [`ÃsEnEns] (Assonanz):
the repetition of internal vowel sounds in neighbouring words that do not end the same.
sweet dreams / fertile - birth


Asyndeton (unverbundene Reihung von Satzgliedern)

Words are not linked by conjunctions; they are separated only by commas

Example: .. another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, … covering…

Effect: staccato-like


Form of hyperbole, in which a more important sounding word is used in place of a more descriptive term


(Missklang ))

Cacophony is the claim or study of inherent pleasantness or beauty (euphony) or unpleasantness (cacophony) of the sound of certain words and sentences. Poetry is considered euphonic, as is well-crafted literary prose. Important phonaesthetic devices of poetry are rhyme, assonance and alliteration. Closely related to euphony and cacophony is the concept of consonance and dissonance


A comma, colon or full stop within a line indicates a pause (caesura).“To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.”

(Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”)


Mixed metaphor (sometimes used by design and sometimes a rhetorical fault) (Katachrese, Bildbruch)

Using a word in a sense radically different from its normal sense.

"'Tis deepest winter in Lord Timon's purse" — Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

Using a word to denote something for which, without the catachresis, there is no actual name.

"a table's leg"

Using a word out of context.

"Can't you hear that? Are you blind?"

Creating an illogical mixed metaphor.

"To take arms against a sea of troubles..." – Shakespeare, Hamlet

Misuse of a word out of a misunderstanding of its meaning.

Justice to break her sword ! One more, one more.
(3318- Act 5, Scene 2)

Chiasmus (Überkreuzung)

Chiasmus (Überkreuzung)

The syntactic structure is criss-crossed; inversion in second phrase of order in first phrase

Example: to stop too fearful, and too faint to go

Effect: emphasis


circumlocution: "Talking around" a topic by substituting or adding words, as in euphemism or periphrasis Addressing a thing, an abstraction or a person not present

Cliché/ Generalization

A cliché or cliche is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, "played out", rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. The term is frequently used in modern culture for an action or idea which is expected or predictable, based on a prior event. It is likely to be used pejoratively. But "clichés" are not always false or inaccurate; a cliché may or may not be true. Some are stereotypes, but some are simply truisms and facts. A cliché may sometimes be used in a work of fiction for comedic effect.


Words are arranged according to the value of their importance; the most important word is the climax.

Example: We strive for the good, aim for the better, and seize the best.

Effect: to increase tension, emphasize importance


commiseration: Evoking pity in the audience

Contradictio in adjecto

Contradictio in adjecto is Latin for a contradiction in itself or a contradiction in terms. It is "the characteristic that is denoted by the adjective stands in contrast to the noun." It is a kind of oxymoron, for example, "There was a deafening silence in the room."


In literature, an author writes contrast when he or she describes the difference(s) between two or more entities. For example, in the first four lines of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, Shakespeare contrasts a mistress to the sun, coral, snow, and wire.My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red ;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.


Consonance [`---] (Konsonanz):
the repetition of consonant sounds at the end of neighbouring words which have different vowel sounds.
strength - earth – birth / home - same


Linguistic device used for correcting one's mistakes, a form of which is epanorthosis


stressed – two unstressed (/xx, “damnable”)


Another word for metonymy

double negative:

Grammar construction that can be used as an expression and it is the repetition of negative words


Substitution of a harsher, more offensive, or more disagreeable term for another. Opposite of euphemism

Ellipsis/ Clipping

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") is a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis) (apostrophe and ellipsis mixed). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (...) or pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis.

end rhyme:

in the shape of a

couplet: aabb

alternate rhyme: abab

envelope pattern: abba

tail rhyme: abcabc (Schweifreim)

end-stopped line:

end-stopped line: “Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.[...]”

(William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 73”)


Enjambment (Zeilensprung)

A sentence runs across 2 lines

Example: I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high oér vales and hills

Effect: fluent, flowing



Enumeration (Aufzählung):
the listing of words or phrases. It can stress a certain aspect e.g. by giving a number of similar or sy n­onymous adjectives to describe something.
Today many workers find their labor mechanical, boring, imprisoning, stultifying (lähmend), repe titive, dreary and heartbreaking.


Repetition in a sentence with a reversal of words. Example:


Immediate and emphatic self-correction, often following a slip of the tongue


Repetition of one or more words at the end of two or more lines or sentences

Example: Whirl your pointed pines,

Splash your great pines

Effect: emphasis (front and end positions are always emphasized)

A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman! (Othello)


Synonym for rhetorical question (not commonly used)


Euphemism (Euphemismus)

A direct, unpleasant statement is replaced by an indirect, more pleasant one to avoid bluntness.

Example: to put an animal to sleep, instead of: to kill it because it is ill

Effect: to avoid bluntness, to be polite

euphemism: Substitution of a less offensive or more agreeable term for another


An exemplum (Latin for "example", pl. exempla, exempli gratia = "for example", abbr.: e.g.) is a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point.


Exergasia is used to make a point or bring home a powerful idea. Repetition is a good way of making a point, but without the restatement of the idea it tends to become boring. As such, it is used by many great writers and orators. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his "I Have a Dream" Speech says

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy;

now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice;

now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood;

now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children.


eye-rhyme: looks similar but sounds different (“move – dove”)

feminine rhyme:

feminine rhyme: astressed syllable followed by an unstressed one

(“gender – bender”)

Figura etymologica

Figura etymologica is a rhetorical figure in which words with the same etymological derivation are used adjacently. Note that to count as a figura etymologica, it is necessary that the two words be genuinely different words, and not just different inflections of the same word. For example, the sentence Once I loved, but I love no more is not a figura etymologica since, although love and loved are obviously etymologically related, they are really just inflections of the same word.

An example of a figura etymologica can be found in Romans (1:25) - "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator".


Foreshadowing is a literary technique used by many different authors to provide clues for the reader to be able to predict what might occurlater on in the story. It is a literary device in which an author drops hints about the plot and what may come in the near future. It suggests certain plot developments will come later in the story. It gives hints about whats going to happen next in your story.

Glittering generality

Glittering generalities (also called glowing generalities) are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly-valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. Such highly-valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. Their appeal is to emotions such as love of country and home, and desire for peace, freedom, glory, and honor. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists

Grapevine (gossip)

The usual implication is that the information was passed person to person by word of mouth, perhaps in a confidential manner among friends or colleagues. It can also imply an overheard conversation or anonymous sources of information. For instance "I heard through the grapevine that Brad was getting fired."


A greguería is a short statement, usually one sentence, in which the author expresses a philosophical, pragmatic, or humorous idea in a witty and original way. A greguería is roughly similar to an aphorism or a one-liner joke in comedy. It is a rhetorical and stylistic device used in Spanish and Latin American literature.


Hendiadys (pronounced /hɛnˈdaɪ.ədɨs/, a Latinized form of the Greek phrase ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, hèn dià duoîn, "one through two") is a figure of speech used for emphasis — "The substitution of a conjunction for a subordination". The basic idea is to use two words linked by a conjunction to express a single complex idea.

English names for hendiadys include two for one and figure of twinnes.

The typical result of a hendiadys is to transform a noun-plus-adjective into two nouns joined by a conjunction. For example, "sound and fury" (from act V, scene 5 of Macbeth) seems to offer a more striking image than "furious sound". In this example, as typically, the subordinate idea originally present in the adjective is transformed into a noun in and of itself. Another example is Dieu et mon droit, present in the coat of arms of the United Kingdom. In fact, hendiadys is most effective in English when the adjective and noun form of the word are identical. Thus "the cold wind went down the hall" becomes "the cold and the wind went down the hall."


Hendiatris (from the Greek: ἓν διὰ τριῶν, hèn dià triôn, "one through three") is a figure of speech used for emphasis, in which three words are used to express one idea. For example, the phrase "wine, women and song" uses three words to capture the concept of hedonistic life.

If the units involved are not single words, and if they are not in any way synonyms but rather "circumnavigate" the one idea expressed, the figure may be described more correctly, precisely, and succinctly as a triad.

Tripartite motto is the conventional English term for a motto, a slogan, or an advertising phrase in the form of a hendiatris. Perhaps equally well-known throughout the world are Julius Caesar's "Veni, vidi, vici" (an example of a tricolon) and the motto of the French Republic: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, also "Peace, Order and Good Government" is used as a guiding principle in the parliaments of the Commonwealth of Nations.

"Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll"


hermeneia: Repetition for the purpose of interpreting what has already been said


The homeoptoton (from the Greek homoióptoton, «similar in the cases»), is a figure of speech, characteristical of the flexive languages, consisting in ending the last words of single parts of the speech with the same cases: for instance, in Latin, two consecutive and correlated sentences ending both in accusative.

"Hominem laudem egentem virtutis, abundantem felicitates" ("Am I to praise a man abounding in good luck, but lacking in virtue?").


Homeoteleuton, also spelled as homoeoteleuton and homoioteleuton, (from the Greek ὁμοιοτέλευτον, homoioteleuton, "like ending") is the repetition of endings in words. Homeoteleuton is also known as near rhyme.

Hook (rhetoric)

A hook in rhetoric is a rhetorical device that gets the attention of the audience and makes them want to listen to the rest of the speech. Hooks can often be metaphors, playing on emotional appeal, and they can also be a series of intriguing questions, a statistic, a fact, or any other rhetorical device that captures a listener's attention.


Hypallage (pronounced /haɪˈpælədʒiː/, from the Greek: ὑπαλλαγή, hypallagḗ, "interchange, exchange") is a literary device that is the reversal of the syntactic relation of two words (as in "her beauty's face").

One kind of hypallage, also known as a transferred epithet, is the trope or rhetorical device in which a modifier, usually an adjective, is applied to the "wrong" word in the sentence. The word whose modifier is thus displaced can either be actually present in the sentence, or it can be implied logically. The effect often stresses the emotions or feelings of the individual by expanding them on to the environment. For example:

"On the idle hill of summer/Sleepy with the flow of streams/Far I hear..." (A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad) — idle hill... sleepy is a hypallage: it is the narrator, not the hill, who exhibits these features.

"The plowman homeward plods his weary way, / And leaves the world to darkness and to me" (Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard") — Weary way is a hypallage: it is the plowman, not the way, that is weary.

"Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time" -Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum est

"restless night" — The night was not restless, but the person who was awake through it was.

"happy morning" — Mornings have no feelings, but the people who are awake through them do.

"female prison" — Prisons do not have genders, but the people who are inside them do.

"condemned cell" — It is not the cell that is condemned, but the person who is inside it.

"careless error" — The error is not careless, but the person who commits it is.

"distracted driving" — The driving is not distracted, but the person doing it


hyperbaton: Words that naturally belong together are separated from each other for emphasis or effect

(HYPALLAGE (high-PAL-uh-jee)

A type of hyperbaton involving an interchange of elements in a phrase or sentence so that a displaced word is in a grammatical relationship with another that it does not logically qualify, as in: Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?
--- Shakespeare, Othello, IV.ii



Hyperbole (Übertreibung)

Example: Sue is extremely rich. She is rolling in money.

I haven´t seen you for ages!

Effect: used for exaggeration; to attract the reader´s attention; to emphasize statements

hyperbole: Use of exaggerated terms for emphasis



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Hypocatastasis is a figure of speech that by implication declares or implies a resemblance, representation or comparison. It differs from a metaphor, because in a metaphor the two nouns are both named and given; while, in hypocatastasis, only one is named and the other is implied, or as it were, is put down underneath out of sight. Hence hypocatastasis is an implied resemblance or representation: that is an implied simile or metaphor. A hypocatastasis has more force than a metaphor or simile, and expresses as it were a superlative degree of resemblance.

Bullinger gives the following example: one may say to another, “You are like a beast.” This would be simile, tamely stating a fact. If, however, he said, “You are a beast” that would be metaphor. But, if he said simply, “Beast!” that would be hypocatastasis, for the other part of the simile or metaphor (“you”), would be implied and not stated. This figure, therefore, is calculated to arouse the mind and attract and excite the attention to the greatest extent.


Answering one's own rhetorical question at length

hysteron proteron:

hysteron proteron: Reversal of anticipated order of events; a form of hyperbaton


iamb: unstressed - stressed (x/, “above”)

identical rhyme:

identical rhyme: includes the consonants before the vowel (“know – no”)

impure rhymes:

impure rhymes: less “perfect” than pure or true rhymes (“loads – lids or foam – moan”)


Having a hidden meaning in a sentence that makes sense whether it is detected or not

internal rhyme:

internal rhyme: (“East,West,home’s best.”)


Inversion (Umstellung von SPO)

Example: away they fly; up go the windows, out run the people, …

Effect: to emphasize or dramatize an event

Inversion (Inversion):
a change of the ususal word order (subject-verb-object).
A lady with a dulcimer (Hackbrett) / In a vision once I saw


Apostrophe to a god or muse


An ipse-dixitism is an unsupported or dogmatic assertion; it is a term sometimes used to point out a missing argument.

Someone guilty of perpetrating an ipse-dixitism does not explicitly define it as an axiom, and certainly not as a premise, but often appears presented in syllogistic form, as: "The economy needs more scientists, so expansion of science education will boost the future economy". The proposition rests on an ipse-dixitism unless the speaker gives reasons why "the economy needs more scientists".



A meaning is expressed that is the opposite of the intended one.

Example: the noble Brutus

Effect: ridicule; often didactic

irony: Use of word in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning


Isocolon is a figure of speech in which parallelism is reinforced by members that are of the same length. A well-known example of this is Julius Caesar's "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came; I saw; I conquered), which also illustrates that a common form of isocolon is tricolon, or the use of three parallel members.

It is derived from the Greek ἴσος (ísos), "equal" and κῶλον (kôlon), "member, clause".


"They have suffered severely, but they have fought well." Winston Churchill Speech to the House of Commons June 18, 1940

"Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches." Winston Churchill Speech to the House of Commons June 18, 1940

"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse." Charles V

"Many will enter. Few will win" Nabisco

"No ifs, ands, or buts." English Proverb

"With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage" Claudius, Act 1 Scene 2 of Hamlet


Repetition of a cohesive device at the end


Understatement, often ironical, expressing an affirmative by the negative of its contrary

Example: she is not stupid (= she is quite clever)

Effect: emphasis

Emphasizing the magnitude of a statement by denying its opposite

Understatement (Untertreibung): the opposite of hyperbole; the deliberate presentation of something as being much less important, valuable etc. than it really is.
“These figures are a bit disappointing” instead of “… are disastrous (katastrophal).”
"He was quite upset” instead of “He went into a terrible rage”


A malapropism (also called a Dogberryism or acyrologia) is the substitution of a word for a word with a similar sound, in which the resulting phrase makes no sense but often creates a comic effect. It is not the same as an eggcorn, which is a similar substitution in which the new phrase makes sense on some level. Occasionally a phrase, rather than a single word, replaces the original word, for example Stan Laurel said "What a terrible cat's after me!"

malapropism: Using a word through confusion with a word that sounds similar

Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream:

Bottom says he will "aggravate" his voice when he really means he will "moderate" it. (Act 1 Scene II)

masculine rhyme:

masculine rhyme: similarity of the last syllables stressed in two lines

(“man – fan”)


Use of understatement, usually to diminish the importance of something


In rhetoric, a merism is a figure of speech by which a single thing is referred to by a conventional phrase that enumerates several of its parts, or which lists several synonyms for the same thing.


Metalepsis is a figure of speech in which one thing is referred to by something else which is only remotely associated with it. Often the association works through a different figure of speech, or through a chain of cause and effect. Often metalepsis refers to the combination of several figures of speech into an altogether new one. Those base figures of speech can be literary references, resulting in a sophisticated form of allusion.

A synonym for metalepsis is transumption, derived from the Latin transsumptio invented by Quintilian as an equivalent for the Greek.


"I've got to go catch the worm tomorrow."

"The early bird catches the worm" is a common maxim in English, advocating getting an early start on the day to achieve success. The subject, by referring to this maxim, is compared to the bird; tomorrow, the speaker will awaken early in order to achieve success.



A figure of speech that implies more of a comparison than a direct impression (Without “as” or “like”!!)

Example: You are the wind beneath my wings.

Effect: emphasis; appeals to our imagination; creates a vivid picture in the reader´s mind



A word is substituted by another with which it is associated.

Example: crown stands for monarchy

Effect: visual effect



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For Wikipedia policy on neologisms, see Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms

A neologism (pronounced /niˈɒlədʒɪzəm/); from Greek νέος (neos 'new') + λόγος (logos 'speech') is a newly coined word or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event.

The term neologism is first attested in English in 1772, borrowed from French néologisme (1734).

In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults.

People with autism also may create neologisms.

Use of neologisms may also be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury.

In theology, a neologism is a relatively new doctrine (for example, rationalism). In this sense, a neologist is one who proposes either a new doctrine or a new interpretation of source material such as religious texts.[citation needed] Neologism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For Wikipedia policy on neologisms, see Wikipedia:Avoid neologisms

A neologism (pronounced /niˈɒlədʒɪzəm/); from Greek νέος (neos 'new') + λόγος (logos 'speech') is a newly coined word or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event.

The term neologism is first attested in English in 1772, borrowed from French néologisme (1734).

In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults.

People with autism also may create neologisms.

Use of neologisms may also be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury.

In theology, a neologism is a relatively new doctrine (for example, rationalism). In this sense, a neologist is one who proposes either a new doctrine or a new interpretation of source material such as religious texts.[citation needed]


In aesthetics, nimism is a particular kind of trope or symbol characterized by exaggeration. The term is derived from Latin (nimis), "too much" and (nimietas), excess. Unlike a hyperbole or paradox, it is not applied to linguistic or rhetorical phenomena only, but usually refers to other forms of disparity, e.g. disproportions in sculptures and paintings, or certain sorts of discrepancies in appearance or behaviour (in theatre plays, movies etc.). Thus nimism, by means of symbolic parallels or analogies, is meant to help the reader, viewer etc. to see the truth. A negative nimism hints at something bad (a weakness, vice, sin, crime etc.), the less frequently used positive nimism indicates something good (a virtue or something heroic).


King Duncan’s cloak, too wide for his murderous successor Macbeth. (Shakespeare)

The feet of the two haughty stepsisters, too big (and bloody) to fit Cinderella’s tiny shoe, hence an obvious evidence of their wrong claim. (Brothers Grimm)

Elizabeth Bennet’s look at the nude male sculptures in Darcy’s art gallery, cast much too long to conceal her sexual awakening. (Jane Austen)


Onomatopoeia (Lautmalerei)

Word whose sound tries to imitate its meaning

Example: hum, buzz, crash, swish, cuckoo, shhhh, hush

Effect: sound device, creates an especially vivid impression


Oxymoron (scheinbarer Widerspruch)

Two contradictory terms are used together in a phrase.

Example: sweet death; wise fool; cruel love

Effect: provokes thoughts; emphasis
- a condensed (komprimiert) form of paradox in which two contradictory words
(mostly adjective and noun) are used together.
sweet sorrow / wise fool / bittersweet
“O hateful love! O loving hate!” (Romeo and Juliet)


Extended metaphor told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson


Extenuating a vice in order to flatter or soothe



A statement which is obviously absurd or contradictory, but has a deeper meaning. A statement that seems to be self-contradictory (widersprüchlich) or opposed to common sense. On closer examination it mostly reveals some truth. Example: The King is dead! Long live the King!

So fair and foul a day I have not seen.

Effect: thought-provoking

(The child is father of the man. (Wordsworth)
It is awfully hard work doing nothing. (Oscar Wilde)


Drawing attention to something while pretending to pass it over

parallel irony:

An ironic juxtaposition of sentences or situations (informal)



Arrangement of phrases, sentences or paragraphs, so that structure and/or meaning are similar; a form of repetition

Example: Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volleyed and thundered.


Rewriting a phrase (sentence, literary piece) in your own words. E.g. Donald began to feel shaky, his lips began to tremble and he sank to the ground thanking God that he finally reached the homeland which he had believed to be lost forever.

Paraphrased: Donald was emotionally overwhelmed when he learned that he had eventually returned to his native country and he kneeled down in a thankful prayer.


paraprosdokian: Phrase in which the latter part causes a rethinking or reframing of the beginning


In rhetoric, parisosis occurs when clauses have very similar lengths, as measured by syllables. It is sometimes taken as equivalent to isocolon.


paronomasia: A form of pun, in which words similar in sound but with different meanings are used

pathetic fallacy:

pathetic fallacy: Using a word that refers to a human action on something non-human


pentameter: “When I do count the clock that tells the time” (William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 12”)


periphrasis: Using several words instead of few


Personification (Vermenschlichung)

Attributes a human quality to animals or inanimate things

Example: Justice is blind; dancing daffodils

Effect: to emphasize similarity


Pleonasm is the use of more words or word-parts than is necessary for clear expression: examples are black darkness, burning fire, digital download or redundant pleonasm. Such redundancy is, by traditional rhetorical criteria, a manifestation of tautology. The term "tautology" is derived from two Greek words meaning It says this, i.e. the same thing.

"This was the most unkindest cut of all." —William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.

"Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle dogs." —Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep.

"Let me tell you this, when social workers offer you, free, gratis and for nothing, something to hinder you from swooning, which with them is an obsession, it is useless to recoil ..." —Samuel Beckett, Molloy.


praeteritio: Another word for paralipsis


A priamel is a literary and rhetorical device found throughout Western literature and consisting of a series of listed alternatives that serve as foils to the true subject of the poem, which is revealed in a climax. For example, Fragment 16 by the Greek poet Sappho (translated by Mary Barnard) begins with a priamel:

Οἰ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων

οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ᾽ ἐπὶ γᾶν μέλαιναν

ἔμμεναι κάλλιστον ἔγω δὲ κῆν᾽

ὄττω τὶσ ἔπαται.

Some say a cavalry corps,

some infantry, some, again,

will maintain that the swift oars

of our fleet are the finest

sight on dark earth; but I say

that whatever one loves, is.

Other examples are found in Horace, Villon, Shakespeare, and Baudelaire, as well as in the Bible:

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.


procatalepsis: Refuting anticipated objections as part of the main argument


prolepsis: Another word for procatalepsis


proslepsis: Extreme form of paralipsis in which the speaker provides great detail while feigning to pass over a topic


proverb: Succinct or pithy expression of what is commonly observed and believed to be true


Pun (Wortspiel):
a play on words that have the same (or a similar) sound but different mean ings. There are a lot of puns in English because of its many homophones, i.e. words with the same sound as another. Homophones lose their am biguity as soon as they are written
At the drunkard’s fu neral, four of his friends carried the bier. (bier Totenbahre vs. beer Bier)
A word with the same form as another but with a different meaning is called homonym:
“Is life worth living?” – “It depends on the liver” (liver = sb. who lives vs. liver Leber)


Repetition (Wiederholung)

Words or phrases are repeated.

Example: water, water everywhere

Effect: to emphasize; can seem monotonous

repetition: Repeated usage of word(s)/group of words in the same sentence to create a poetic/rhythmic effect

Rhetorical question

rhetorical question: Asking a question as a way of asserting something. Or asking a question not for the sake of getting an answer but for asserting something (or as in a poem for creating a poetic effect)

Rhetorical question

Asked for rhetorical effect, not expecting an answer

Example: A simple child, … What should it know of death?

Effect: emphasis



Similarity or identity of vowels (several types: end-rhyme, cross-rhyme, embracing rhyme)

Example: In the drinking-well

Which the plumber built her

Aunt Eliza fell,

We must buy a filter.

Effect: musical


The study of rhythm, stress, and pitch in speech is called prosody; it is a topic in linguistics. Narmour describes three categories of prosodic rules which create rhythmic successions which are additive (same duration repeated), cumulative (short-long), or countercumulative (long-short). Cumulation is associated with closure or relaxation, countercumulation with openness or tension, while additive rhythms are open-ended and repetitive. Richard Middleton points out this method cannot account for syncopation and suggests the concept of transformation.

A rhythmic unit is a durational pattern which occupies a period of time equivalent to a pulse or pulses on an underlying metric level, as opposed to a rhythmic gesture which does not .

run-on line (same as enjambement)

run-on line: “Come let me write,‛And to what end?’ To ease

A burthned hart, ‘How can words ease, which are

[...]” (Sir Phillip Sidney, “Sonnet 34”)


satire: Use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. A literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule. A literary genre comprising such compositions


Sarcasm [`sA:kÃzm] (Sarkasmus):
bitter and aggressive humour used to express mockery (Spott, Hohn) or dis approval (Ablehnung). It is a strong form of verbal irony used to hurt someone through mockery (Spott, Hohn) or disapproval (Ablehnung). (adj. sarcastic)
“We could easily solve the population problem if we simply stopped the habit of giving charity to Third World countries.”


Simile (Vergleich mit „like“ oder „as“)

Example: ..ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.. (Act II, Scene 1 line: 957)

Effect: conveys a vivid picture to the mind by linking up unrelated objects


Quoted or misquoted cliché or phrasal template

A snowclone is a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as "a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants".

An example of a snowclone is "grey is the new black", a version of the template "X is the new Y". X and Y may be replaced with different words or phrases – for example, "comedy is the new rock 'n' roll". Both the generic formula and the new phrases produced from it are called "snowclones".

Don’t ask what your bank can do for you, but what you can do for your bank. (Instead of: Don’t as what your country…)

May the money be with you. (Instead of: May the force be with you)

Sound bite

Before the actual term "sound bite" had been coined, Mark Twain described the concept as "a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense." It is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that deftly captures the essence of what the speaker is trying to say. Such key moments in dialogue (or monologue) stand out better in the audience's memory and thus become the "taste" that best represents the entire "meal" of the larger message or conversation.


"The only thing we have to fear is - fear itself". (the most famous phrase in Franklin D. Roosevelt's first Inaugural Address in 1933)

"Ich bin ein Berliner" John F. Kennedy at 26. June 1963.

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Neil Armstrong from the Apollo 11 mission

"Houston, we've had a problem." (said by James A. Lovell in the Apollo XIII mission)

"Elvis has left the building" was an announcement often heard on the public address system after an Elvis Presley concert to disperse crowds lingering for an encore.


spondee: two stressed (//, “artwork”)


superlative: Saying that something is the best of something or has the most of some quality, e.g. the ugliest, the most precious etc.


Syllepsis (Zeugma)

Form of pun, in which a single word is used to modify two other words, with which it normally would have differing meanings.

One word modifies or governs others although it fits with only one.

Example: He took leave and his hat.

Effect: comical


Words describing different sensations (e.g. colour, smell, vision)

Example: murmuring light; cold colour

Effect: poetic; provokes thoughts; strikes as unusual


A symbol is a word or object that stands for another word or object. The object or word can be seen with the eye or not visible. For example a dove stands for Peace. The dove can be seen and peace cannot. The word is from the Greek word symbolom. All language is symbolizing one thing or another.

In Othello: The handkerchief is a symbol for Othello’s love for Desdemona


In rhetoric, symploce is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is used successively at the beginning of two or more clauses or sentences and another word or phrase is used successively at the end of the same. It is the combination of anaphora and epistrophe. It derives from the Greek word , meaning "interweaving".


"When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it."

Bill Clinton

"Let England have its navigation and fleet—let Scotland have its navigation and fleet—let Wales have its navigation and fleet—let Ireland have its navigation and fleet—let those four of the constituent parts of the British empire be under four independent governments, and it is easy to perceive how soon they would each dwindle into comparative insignificance."

syncatabasis (condescension, accommodation):

adaptation of style to the level of the audience


Synchysis is an interlocked word order, in the form A-B-A-B; which often display change and difference. This poetry form was a favorite with Latin poets. They are often employed to demonstrate such change within the event in which they are situated; on occasion, there are synchyses within a poem which were not intended but happened to be written in such a way.

A synchysis may be opposed to chiasmus, which is in the form A-B-B-A.



Uses a part of something to refer to the whole

Example: He was sent behind bars (= prison)

Effect: vivid impression

synecdoche: Form of metonymy, in which a part stands for the whole


Synesis is a traditional grammatical/rhetorical term derived from Greek σύνεσις (originally meaning "unification, meeting, sense, conscience, insight, realization, mind, reason").

A constructio kata synesin (or constructio ad sensum in Latin) means a grammatical construction in which a word takes the gender or number not of the word with which it should regularly agree, but of some other word implied in that word. It is effectively an agreement of words with the sense, instead of the morphosyntactic form.


If the band is popular, they will play next month.

Here, the plural pronoun they co-refers with the singular noun band. One can think of the antecedent of they as an implied plural noun such as musicians.


synesthesia: Description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.


Tautology (synonyme Wortwiederholung)

Superfluous repetition of words that does not clarify a statement

Example: to divide into four quarters

Effect: for emphasis

Needless repetition of the same sense in different words


A tautophrase is a phrase or sentence that repeats an idea in the same words. The name was coined by William Safire in The New York Times.

Examples include:

"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" (John Wayne)

"If you want to fix the text, fix the text." (John R. Bolton)

"A rose is a rose is a rose." (Gertrude Stein)

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." (Sigmund Freud)

"I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!" (Popeye)

"Let bygones be bygones."

"What's done is done."

"Facts are facts."

"A deal is a deal is a deal."

"Once it's gone it's gone."

Telling name:

a name that conveys certain character traits.
Darth Vader (dark + death, invader) / Lord Voldemort (“flight of death”) / Willy Loman (low man)


tetrameter: Goe and catche a falling starre” (John Donne, “Song”)

transferred epithet:

transferred epithet: Placing of an adjective with what appears to be the incorrect noun

tricolon crescens:

Combination of three elements, each increasing in size The children gathered in a round circle

tricolon diminuens:

Combination of three elements, each decreasing in size Combination of three elements, each decreasing in size


trimeter: “That I did always love” (Emily Dickinson, US, 1830-86)

triple rhyme:

triple rhyme: parallels three syllables (“glamorous – amorous”)


trochee: stressed - unstressed (/x, “falling”)


truism: a self-evident statement


A figure of speech related to syllepsis, but different in that the word used as a modifier is not compatible with one of the two words it modifies


Applying animal characteristics to humans or gods

Montag, 18. Oktober 2010

Important Stylistic and Rhetorical Devices in Shakespeare’s OTHELLO

Oberstufe Englisch
Important Stylistic and Rhetorical Devices in Shakespeare’s OTHELLO
Simile (Vergleich):
an explicit comparison between two things which are basically quite different using words such as like or as.
[…]ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.. (Act 2, Scene 1 line: 957)
She was false as water.(3465)
Metaphor (Metapher):
a comparison between two things which are basically quite different without using like or as. While a simile only says that one thing is like another, a metaphor says that one thing is another. (adj. metaphorical)
Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile. IV,1,26868

[…] making the beast with two backs[…] (Act1, Scene 1, 116)
Personification (Vermenschlichung):
a kind of metaphor in which animals, plants, inanimate (leblos) objects or abstract ideas are represented as if they were human beings and possessed human qualities.
The goodness of the night upon you, friends! (241 Act1, Scene 2)
Synecdoche (lat. pars pro toto):
a kind of metaphor in which a part of something is used to signify the whole.
Roderigo: What a full fortune does the thicklips owe (68 Act1, Scene1)
something concrete (like a person, object, image, word or event) that stands for something ab stract or invisible.

The handkerchief – symbol of the love between Othello and Desdemona
The Willow Song, Military, Island, candle etc.

Alliteration (Alliteration, Stabreim)
The use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words that are close together:
Othello: No, not much moved (Act 2I, Scene 3, line 1882)

Assonance (Assonanz):
the repetition of internal vowel sounds in neighbouring words that do not end the same.
“I kissed thee ere I killed thee” ("Othello," V.ii.420-21)
Consonance (Konsonanz):
the repetition of consonant sounds at the end of neighbouring words which have different vowel sounds.
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven (486 Act I, Scene 3)
Onomatopoeia [ÂnEUmÃtE`pi:E] (Lautmalerei):
the use of words which imitate the sound they refer to. (adj. Onomatopoeic)
Roderigo. Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly(Act1,Scene1,Line1)
Rhyme (Reim):
the use of words which end with the same sounds, usually at the end of lines.
I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.760-761 Act I, Scene 3 (Rhyming couplet)
Expresses excitement, rage, fury, arousing feelings (can also be in the context of love gradually increasing within a speech..)

Repetition (Wiederholung)
Words or phrases are repeated to emphasize ideas:
monstrous, monstrous!” (III.iii.431)
So, so, so, so: they laugh that win. (Act 3, Scene1, 2554)
Repetition of one or more words at the end of two or more lines or sentences
A fine woman! a fair woman! a sweet woman! (IV,1,2609)
Effect: emphasis (front and end positions are always emphasized)
Caesura (Zäsur)
A strong pause within a line of verse. Emphasises a change in the rhythm of a literary text. Marked by a pause or a halt through either [--][…][?!][.].
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword ! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. One more, and this the last: (3318-3321 Act 5, Scene 2)
—Handkerchiefconfessions—handkerchief! (Act 4, Scene 1, 2452-2460)

Parallelism (Parallelismus)
Arrangement of phrases, sentences and paragraphs so that structure and/or meaning are similar.
“Whip me, ye devils, / . . . / . . . roast me in sulphur, / Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!” (V.ii.284–287)
Anaphora (Anapher)
Repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of two or more consecutive clauses or sentences to create emphasis:
Let us be wary, let us hide our loves;' (2101, Act 2I, Scene 3)
Enjambment (also: run-on line):
In poetry, when one line ends without a pause and continues into the next line for its meaning.
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. One more, and this the last: (3318-3321 Act 5, Scene 2)

Parallelism (Parallelismus):
The deliberate (absichtlich) repetition of similar or iden tical words, phrases or constructions in neighbouring lines, sentences or paragraphs.
Othello. Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome.
confess, and be hanged for his labour;—first, to be 2455
hanged, and then to confess.—I tremble at it.
Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
passion without some instruction. It is not words
that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
—Is't possible?—Confess—handkerchief!—O devil!— (Act 4, Scene 1, 2452-2460)
Inversion (Inversion):
a change of the ususal word order (subject-verb-object).
Why I should fear I know not,
Since guiltiness I know not; but yet I feel I fear.( 3345-3346 Act 5, Scene2)
Chiasmus [kaI`ÃzmEs] (Chiasmus, Kreuzstellung):
a reversal in the order of words so that the sec ond half of a sentence balances the first half in inverted (umgekehrt) word order.

But I do love thee! and when I love thee not (1729 Act 2I, Scene 3)
Climax [`klaImÃks] (Steigerung, Höhepunkt, Klimax):
a figure of speech in which a series of words or expressions rises step by step, beginning with the least important and ending with the most important (= climactic order). The term may also be used to refer only to the last item in the series.

Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
It stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be
[Kissing her]
That e'er our hearts shall make! (988-993 Act 2, Scene 1)
Anticlimax (Antiklimax):
the sudden fall from an idea of impor tance or dignity (Würde) to some thing unimportant or ridi culous in comparison, especially at the end of a series.
Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!
Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars.. (Act 3, Scene 3, 2025-2026)
Enumeration (Aufzählung):
the listing of words or phrases. It can stress a certain aspect e.g. by giving a number of similar or synonymous adjectives to describe something.
Whether a maid so tender, fair and happy, (286, Act I, Scene 2)
By leaving out one word an ellipsis emphasizes the missing term. It can also leave it open to more than one potential fill-word.
"Go to" is an all-purpose phrase which can mean "go to hell” in the sense of "get out of my face." By not specifying the blank gains more important, than the word if had been written.

Asyndeton (Asyndeton)
Enumeration of words or phrases without using sentence connectives:
"If there be cords, or knives,
Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams,
I'll not endure it." (Act 3,Scene 3) (

Allusion (Anspielung):
a brief reference to a person, place, thing, event or idea in history or literature. Allusions require common reading and cultural experiences shared by the writer and the reader. (v. to allude to sth., n. an allusion to sth.)
By Janus, I think no. (238 Act I, Scene 2)
“play the swan, / And die in music” (254–255 Act 5, Scene 2)
Ambiguity (Ambiguität, Zwei-/Mehrdeutigkeit):
the deliberate use of a word or phrase that has two or more relevant meanings.
Ambiguity is the basis for a lot of wordplay.
The state of having more than one meaning, with resultant uncertainty as to the intended significance of the statement. In other cases, since language can function on levels other than that of denotation, words are capable of operating with two or more meanings at the same time, adding a richness and a complexity to the text.
Example: “Put money in thy purse” (Othello, 1.3.342).
Function: As Roderigo’s mood takes a downturn, Iago aims to maintain his plan by convincing him to go to Cyprus and be patient.A heavily-repeated piece of advice, Iago’sstatement to place money in its holder is fairly ambiguous, for it carries multiple meanings forRoderigo.He is reminded to keep spending money (and giving it to Iago) in order to win Desdemona’s love, yet the term money also has a figurative function.Iago wishes for his companion to stay committed to his goal, investing not only money but also time, so that in the end he can be assured of success.
Euphemism (Euphemismus):
hiding the real nature of something unpleasant by using a mild or indirect term for it. Euphemism: A device in which indirectness replaces directness of statement, usually in an effort to avoid offensiveness.(For example, senior citizens instead of old people)

Example: “O thou public commoner!” (Othello, 4.2.75).

Function: Othello uses the euphemism “commoner” instead of simply saying prostitute to add a sarcastic air to his rebuke of his wife. During his interrogation of Emilia and Desdemona, his accusations grow increasingly passionate and exaggerated, indicating that his jealousy is causing him to lose a grip on reality. The euphemism, by avoiding bluntness, is actually more insulting in its subtlety. Othello’s reaction shows just how much he values his reputation and his wife’s faithfulness.

A symbolic occurrence in the text, that allows predicitions about the outcome of the story.

But I do love thee! And when I love thee not, Chaos is come again. (3.3.98-100)

This passage gives some foreshadowing because chaos does come again into Othello’s life.

Hyperbole (Hyperbel) also: overstatement:

deliberate (absichtlich) exaggeration.
Its pur pose is to emphasize something or to pro duce a humorous effect.Othello uses hyperbole to describe his anger at the possibility of Iago lying about his wife’s infidelity in Act 2I, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s play Othello:
If thou dost slander her and torture me,
Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
On horror’s head accumulate;
Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
For nothing canst thou to damnation add
Greater than that.
In this passage, Othello is telling Iago that if he is lying then Othello will have no pity and Iago will have no hope for salvation. Adding horrors with still more horrors, Othello is describing his potential rage.
Adynaton (plural adynata) (from Greek: a-: without and dynasthai: to be powerful)
is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to suggest a complete impossibility.
I cannot speak enough of this content
It stops me here; it is too much of joy. (2.1.196-97)
Understatement (Untertreibung): the opposite of hyperbole; the deliberate presentation of something as being much less important, valuable etc. than it really is.
"a little dash'd your spirits" (1869 Act 2I, Scene 3)
Irony (Ironie): saying the opposite of what you actually mean. Do not use “ironic” in the vague sense of “funny/humorous”.
Drown thyself! drown (694)
cats and blind puppies.(695)
Sarcasm (Sarkasmus)
is a strong form of verbal irony used to hurt someone through mockery (Spott, Hohn) or dis approval (Ablehnung). (adj. sarcastic)
Othello. Well, thou dost best. (3669)
Meaning: Do your worst to torture him.
Satire (Satire):
a kind of text which criticizes certain conditions, events or people by making them appear ridiculous. Satirical [-`---] texts often make use of exaggeration, irony and sarcasm. (n. satirist, adj. satirical, v. to satirize satirisch darstellen)
Iago and Roderigo creating a satirical image of Othello's wedding night. (Act1, Scene 1):
E.g. […]'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on
your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise; (95)
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say. […]
Pun (Wortspiel):
a play on words that have the same (or a similar) sound but different meanings. There are a lot of puns in English because of its many homophones, i.e. words with the same sound as another. Homophones lose their ambiguity as soon as they are written.
Iago. Lie—
Othello. With her?
Iago. With her, on her; what you will.
Othello. Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome. (Act 4, Scene 1, 2449-2453)
Rhetorical question (rhetorische Frage):
a question to which the answer is obvious and there fore not expected.
In reality rhetorical questions are a kind of statement.
Nonsuits my mediators; for, 'Certes,' says he,
'I have already chose my officer.'
And what was he?
Forsooth, a great arithmetician, (Act1, Scene1, 16-19)
Telling Name (Vielsagender Name):
Name that hints at a character’s disposition or allows predictions about her/his destiny
The Name Desdemona is of Greek origin meaning "wretchedness, ill-fated one, misery “
Antithesis (Antithese, Gegensatz)
Contrasting statements are balanced against each other to create emphasis:
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago (Act I, Scene 1, 59)
She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd, (512)
And I loved her that she did pity them. (513) Act I, Scene 3
Apostrophe (Apostrophe, Anrede)
Turning one's speech from one audience to another. Most often, apostrophe occurs when one addresses oneself to an abstraction, to an inanimate object, or to the absent.
Words addressed to an absent person, animal or inanimate object:
confess, and be hanged for his labour; ( Act 4, Scene 1, 2452-2460)

Litotes (Litotes, “Doppelte Verneinung”)
A figure of speech used to emphasize something by negating its opposite, often in the form of double negation; it frequently has the effect of an understatement.
Despise me, if I do not..(Act1 ,Scene1 ,8)
Metaphor (Metapher)
A figure of speech that implies a comparison without using “like” or “as” (cf. 23. Simile):
A horned man's a monster and a beast.( Act 3,Scene 1, 2485)
Metonymy (Metonymie)
The act of referring to something by the name of something else that is closely connected with it:
I care not for thy sword; (Act5, Scene2,3501)
Meaning: I care not for your revenge/anger/harming me.
Oxymoron (Oxymoron)
A figure of flat contradiction:
a condensed (komprimiert) form of paradox in which two contradictory words
(mostly adjective and noun) are used together.

An honourable murderer, if you will; (Act5,Scene2,line 3656)
false love (Act5,Scene2,line 3078)
Paradox (Paradoxon)A statement which is obviously absurd or contradictory, but has a deeper meaning:
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am. Act1,Scene1 line 60
In following him, I follow but myself; Act1,Scene1 line 67
Periphrasis (Paraphrase)An abstract or roundabout method of saying something simple:
to abuse Othello's ear (meaning lying to Othello) (752 Act I, Scene 3
beast with two backs (Act1,Scene1)
Catachresis (Bildbruch, Katachrese)
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade 3318
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more. 3319 Act5, Scene2
An intuitive grasp of reality achieved in a quick flash of recognition in which something, usually simple and commonplace, is seen in a new light. A sudden revelation or insight about oneself and his or her place in the world.
Example: “Are there no stones in heaven but what serves for the thunder?—Precious villain!” (Othello, 5.2.242)
Function: After Emilia protests vehemently for Desdemona’s chastity and reveals the truth behind the handkerchief deception, Othello finally realizes at that instant that the real villain is in fact his right-hand man, to whom he had entrusted so much of his well being. The new situation leaves his world turned upside down, as the guilty and the innocent parties have reversed places. He now wishes that the death he had brought upon his wife would leave Iago struck dead.

Introduction. In: Voice and Equality. Zusammenfassung

Verba, Sidney/Schlozman, Kay Lehman/Brady, Henry E. (1995):

Introduction. In: Voice and Equality.

Civic Voluntarism in American Politics.

Cambridge/Mass: Harvard University Press, 1-31.

Zusammenfassung 13.11.08


Zu Beginn wird erklärt (am Beispiel der USA), dass im Grund keine demokratische Nation das Ideal der Partizipationsgleichheit erlangt.

Tatsächlich herrscht ein Ungleichgewicht. Der Idealtypus, der politisch aktiv ist, ist demnach ein Weißer, männlicher, gut-betuchter und gebildeter Partizipant. Daraus wird geschlossen, dass die politische Aktivität seitens der Bürger nur von einem kleinen unrepräsentativen Teil ausgeht.

Understanding Participation: A Thematic Overview

Das Feld der politischen Partizipation ist ein breites Feld. Es gibt zahlreiche Möglichkeiten sich politische zu engagieren (Kampagnen, politische Beiträge, informelle Mitarbeit in der Gemeinde, Kontaktieren von Politikern, Demonstrationen, Proteste, Umfragen)

Es wird die These aufgestellt, dass ein politisches System, welches auf der einen Seite relativ repräsentativ für die Öffentlichkeit zu sein scheint, von einer anderen Perspektive her beleuchtet auf einmal sehr unrepräsentativ aussehen kann.

Explaining Civic Voluntarism

Hier wird erklärt, dass der Bürger immer drei Komponenten benötigt um politische aktiv zu werden. Er muss die Motivation (want) besitzen, er muss die Fähigkeit besitzen (can) und networks of recruitment, die ihn rekrutieren, bzw. ihn fragen (being asked).

Das Civic Voluntarism Model erklärt, wieso es manchen leichter fällt politisch aktiv zu werden (politische Muster werden in der Kirche beiläufig geübt). Der SES (Sozioökonomische Status) spielt hierbei eine Große Rolle.

Auch wird die Frage nach der Art des politischen Engagements aufgeworfen – Geld geben oder Zeit geben?

A Note On DATA

Um eine aussagekräftige Anzahl von Menschen zu befragen wurden 15 000 zufällig ausgewählte Menschen telefonisch kontaktiert und befragt.

Voluntary Actvity and American Democracy

Bei Freiwilliger Aktivität (voluntary activity) geht es nicht nur um Individuen, was sie tun und warum sie es tun. Es geht vielmehr um eine Struktur, die letztendlich dem Erreichen eines allgemeinen Zweckes dienen soll. Es wird diskutiert inwieweit diese Form der Partizipation eine ausschließlich amerikanische Form von Partizipation sei. Erneut wird darauf hingewiesen, dass Bürger die partizipieren wollen auch zahlreiche Möglichkeiten besäßen dies zu tun.

The Many Forms Of Voluntarism

Voluntary activity kann politisch oder nicht politischer Natur sein. Im Text liegt der Fokus auf der politischen Form. Politische Partizipation sei eine Aktivität, die immer direkt oder indirekt darauf abzielt eine politische Aktion zu beeinflussen.

Nun wird im text von Political voluntary activity gesprochen. Damit soll wohl die Freiwilligkeit noch einmal besonders betont werden (Wahlzwang oder ähnliches). Wird somit ausgeschlossen). Tatsächlich wird das weite Feld der politischen Partizipation betrachtet, das sich nicht mit der Wahl als solche auseinandersetzt. Es wird erklärt, dass die Stimme des Wählers, die er für eine Partei abgibt, sehr wenig kommunikative Information enthält. Tatsächlich beschreibt sie den wirklichen politischen Standpunkt des Wählers nur sehr sehr ungenau.

Participation, Equality and Representation

Obwohl sich Demokratie auf den Verweis stützt jeder Bürger habe denselben Wert, gibt es in der Realität Bürger, die nicht partizipieren können/wollen/nicht gefragt worden sind und deshalb nicht repräsentiert werden und somit vom politischen System weniger gut/aufmerksam behandelt werden (à die im Dunkeln stehn sieht man nicht).

Es gibt zwar das gleiche Recht, aber von diesem Recht zur Partizipation wird nicht im gleichen Maße auch Gebrauch gemacht. Obwohl rechtlich keine Einschränkungen herrschen wird die Aktivität durch Status, Rasse und Geschlecht beeinflusst.

Participatory Acts And Participatory Equality

Wenn politische Gleichheit schwer herzustellen ist, so sei sie ebenso schwer zu definieren. Da sie ja kein Real-Zustand ist.

Eine Person eine Stimme – diese Form der politischen Aktivität, namentlich das Wählen, wird oft als Paradebeispiel für Gleichheit der Bürger in politischen fragen herangezogen. Allerdings wird die politisch aussagekräftige Handlung des Nicht-Wählens dabei dann außer Acht gelassen.

Representing What?

In jedem politischen System gibt es Ungleichheit bei der Aktivität der Bürger. Oft wird diese Ungleichheit mit Ungleichheit auf Seite der Responsivität der Regierung in Verbindung gebracht.

Textfeld: Exkurs: Responsivität:  Im Weitesten Sinne das "Antwortverhalten" oder die "Antwortbereitschaft".  Enger gefasst, das Eingehen auf die Interaktions- und Kommunikationsversuche seitens der Bürgerschaft.

Die Liste der Charakteristika, die relevant sind für politische Partizipation (= relevante Charakteristika) ist sehr lang und kann kaum vervollständigt werden. Auch ist es abhängig vom historischen Kontext, inwieweit bestimmte Charakteristika für die Politik relevant sind.

Explaining Participation

Politische Nicht-Aktivität beruht stets auf folgendem Prinzip:

Ein Bürger partizipiert nicht weil 1. er nicht will, nicht kann oder er 3.nicht gefragt wurde.

  1. Nicht können

Wegen mangelnder Ressourcen

- Zeit teilzunehmen

- Geld zum Spenden

- Mangel an Fähigkeiten Zeit und Geld effektiv zu nutzen

  1. Nicht wollen

Wegen mangelndes Engagements/Interesses

- Kein Interesse an Politik

- Keine Beschäftigung mit politischen Themen

- Gefühl keinen Einfluss ausüben zu können

- Keine Kenntnis des Politischen Prozesses

- Andere Prioritäten

  1. Nicht gefragt worden sein

Wegen mangelnden rekrutierenden Netzwerkes

- Niemand mobilisiert den Bürger

- Er kennt niemanden, der auch politisch aktiv ist

- Niemand fragt, ob er an einer Partizipationsform teilnehmen möchte (Umfrage, Demo)

The Role Of Insitutions

Soziale Institutionen spielen eine sehr große rolle dabei, die Bürger dazu zu bewegen aktiv zu werden. Sie kultivieren sozusagen das politische Engagement. In Kirchen, bei der arbeit, in der Schule können politische Beteiligungsformen sich entfalten. Diskussionen, Gespräche, Messen – hier findet eine Auseinandersetzung statt. Interpersonelle Netzwerke sind stark daran beteiligt wie stark man partizipiert. Die Arbeit in einer Institution (Kirche z.B.) kann kommunikative Fähigkeiten und organisatorische Fähigkeiten kultivieren, die nötig sind um politisch aktiv zu werden.

Die Rolle der Institutionen ist von sehr großer Bedeutung, gerade in den Vereinigten Staaten.

Beyond SES

Das SES Modell bestätigt, dass die deren soziökonomischer Status höher ist (höheres Bildungsniveau, Einkommen, Beschäftigung) mit größerer Wahrscheinlichkeit politisch aktiv werden.

Verschiedenen Modi (arten) von Partizipation lassen sich auf verschiedenen sozioökonomische Determinanten zurückführen. Eine gute Bildung ist allerdings der Hauptvorrausetzung um politisch aktiv zu werden.

Auch politisch aktive Eltern wirken sich positiv auf die politische Partizipation aus. Obwohl der größte Teil sozioökonomischer Natur ist.

Ein hoher Level an SES produziert eine hohe politische Partizipation.

In den USA: Eine starke Meinung zum Thema Abtreibung führt zu einer starken politischen Aktivität, die sogar in Teilen den SES vernachlässigen lässt.

The Rational Activist

In diesem Absatz geht es darum welche Formen der politischen Beteiligung sich wirklich als lohnend erweisen – rational betrachtet. (Opportunitätskosten)

Wählen ist die Form des Partizipierens die den geringsten Aufwand erfordert.

The Uniqueness Of The Vote

Bürgerpartizipation darf nicht einzig und allein auf den Akt des Wählens zurückgeführt werden, obwohl dies die häufigste Form von Partizipation ist. Denn der Stimmzettel transportiert keine explizite Botschaft des Wählers, sondern eine stark verwässerte Aussage über den politischen Standpunkt des Wählens (Gegenwähler).Der Mix an Motivationen und Ressourcen bei einer Wahl ist einzigartig. Wir können unser Wissen über den Akt des Wählens also nicht auf andere Politische Partizipationsformen übertragen.

Participation, Political Science, and American Politics in the 1990s

Früher wurde sehr spezifisch bei der Untersuchung von politischen Situationen vorgegangen – ein bestimmtes >Land, eine bestimmte Agenda – bestimmte Kandidaten. Mittlerweile (Seit den 90ern) wird allerdings versucht Sachverhalte abstrakter beschreiben zu können um Konstanten im politischen Prozess ablesen zu können, die allgemein gültig sind. Die Freiwilligenarbeit in Amerika befasse sich im Kern stets mit Bürgerlichen Sachverhalten (civic matters).

Activity Ressources and Equal Representation

Im bereich

Der Politik drücken die Amerikaner eher egalitäre Ansichten aus. Sie erwarten nicht nur die gleichen Rechte sondern auch dieselbe Responsivität des Staates gegenüber jedem einzelnen Bürger.

Does Participation Matter?

Es wird häufig zwischen politischen Outputs (von der Regierung produziert) und Inputs (von der Bürgerschaft initiiert) unterschieden. Allerdings wird hier beschrieben, dass die Politiktreibenden nicht annähernd so sensibel auf die Stimme des Volkes hören, wie oft vorausgesetzt wird.

The Citizen Participation Study

In diesem Abschnitt wird erklärt, dass der Fokus beim Erstellen der Studie ein sehr weit gefasster war. Man hat Institutionen betrachtet, die sich mit Freiwilligenarbeit beschäftigen, welche nicht zwangsläufig sofort als politisch identifiziert werden kann.

Protest Politics, Dalton, Zusammenfassung


Protest Politics

Zusammenfassung 04.12.08

Demonstrationen und Proteste sind in vielen europäischen Demokratien verankert. Besonders in den USA und Frankreich existiert eine so genante Protestkultur. In den USA wegen der Proteste und revolutionären Maßnahmen gegen die Britische Besatzung, die zur Gründung eines unabhängigen Landes geführt haben. Auch in Frankreich gibt es diese besondere Protestkultur, die sich auf die Französische Revolution zurückführen lässt. Auch heute noch finden sich in beiden Ländern Häufungen politischer Protestaktionen im vergleich zu anderen Ländern (In den 80ern: Civil rights movement, Frauenbewegung, heute: Antiglobalisierungsdemos, Arbeiteraufstände etc.)

Besonders für Minderheiten hat der offene politische Protest einen Reiz. Wenn sich Minderheiten nicht auf institutionalisiertem Weg für Ihre wünsche einsetzen können, so greifen sie zum Mittel des Protests.

Seit den Studentenbewegungen der 60 er Jahre allerdings hat sich die Form von Protest verändert. Mittlerweile können große Bevölkerungsgruppen partizipieren - nicht nur die Benachteiligten, die auf die Barrikaden gehen um sich in erster Linie gehör zu verschaffen.

Während Aufstände und Revolten gegen die Regierung gerichtete sind, sind die neuen Protestformen (häufig ausgeübt von der gut gebildeten reichen Schicht) nicht darauf angelegt die Regierung zu stürzen, sondern bereits teil des politischen Partizipationsrepertoires und somit institutionalisiert.

Im Gegensatz zu wilden und vor allem spontanen Aufständen in früherer Zeit, sind die Proteste heute sehr gut organisiert und dienen einzig und allein dem Zweck das angestrebte Ziel möglichst zu erreichen.

Ein Vorteil von politischem Protest gegenüber anderer politischer Partizipationsformen ist der, dass man speziell eine einzige Streitfrage behandeln kann und keine Kompromisse eingehen muss (High Benefit).

Protest wurde zunächst stets als außergewöhnliche Partizipationsform, als unkonventionell angesehen. Seit den 60ern beschäftigt man sich erst genauer mit der empirischen Untersuchung von Protest. Mittlerweile ist Protest eine konventionelle Partizipationsform geworden.

Es gibt ein Spektrum der Protestformen die von „Orthodoxes politisches Verhalten“(Lobbyarbeit, Petitionen) über „ Unorthodoxes politisches Verhalten (Inoffizielle Streiks, unerlaubte Demos, Sachbeschädigung) bis hin zu massiver Gewalt reicht (Krieg, Sabotage, Guerilla). S. Abb. 4.1

Im Folgenden wird noch einmal auf die Französische Protestkultur eingegangen und bestätigt, dass prozentual die Beteiligung an Protestformen wie Streiks etwa höher ist als die Teilnahme an Petitionen. Die Franzosen berufen sich auf die „ glorreiche frz.Revolution“ und das über Klassenschranken hinweg (Arbeiterdemos, Akademiker-Streiks etc).

Besonders in Ostdeutschland findet sich eine Protestkultur basierend auf den Montagsdemonstrationen zu DDR Zeiten.

In den USA haben besonders kleinere Proteste etwa im Bezug auf Straßenbau, Errichtung von Schulen oder sonstige spezifische Belange zugenommen. Es gibt nur einige wenige größere Proteste. Da die Studie erst 1974 beginnt, sind leider die Protestaktionen aus den 60ern in den USA nicht berücksichtigt.

Die Amerikanische Partizipation ist nicht zurückgegangen, nur haben die anderen Staaten mit höherer Geschwindigkeit aufgeholt.

Jemand geht wählen weil er unzufrieden mit einem Thema, mehreren Themen, der Gesellschaft ist.

Frustration macht aggressiv und Proteste sind eine eher aggressive Partizipationsform.

Weitere Gründe können das soziale Umfeld, der Bildungsstand sein.


Nur 11% der Menschen unter 25 sind nicht bereit zumindest eine der unkonventionellen Partizipationsformen „auszuprobieren“. Im Vergleich die über 65jährigen sind zu 24% nicht bereit eine unkonventionelle Partizipationsform zu wählen.

2Mögliche Erklärungen: 1. Junge Menschen besitzen andere spezifische Eigenschaften als ältere Menschen, die die Wahrscheinlichkeit erhöhen Protestformen auszuüben. (Psychologisch, Physisch, Sozial)

2. Das Partizipationsverhalten ist generationsabhängig. Es gibt Generationen, die mehr mit einer bestimmten Partizipationsform partizipieren.


1. Was unterscheidet politischen Protest von konventioneller Partizipation, vor allem Wählen und Wahlkampfaktivitäten? S. 64

Unkonventionelle Partizipationsformen setzen eine direkte Action (direct action) voraus. Sie bewegen sich im Rahmen der semi-legalen Mittel zur Durchsetzung politischer Interessen, reichen aber je nach Grad der „Aggressivität“ mit der sie forciert werden bis hin zu Gewalttätigen Akten über Sabotage bis hin zu Krieg.

Konventionelle Partizipation bewegt sich stärker im Feld Orthodoxen politischen Verhaltens und ist legal. Sie setzt nicht oder nur selten eine direkte Aktion voraus.

(Anm.: Mir scheint die Übergänge hier sind fließend, so dass im Mittelfeld keine exakte Trennlinie gezogen werden kann und die Grenzen verschwimmen.)

2. Dalton verortet politischen Protest als extremer als konventionelle Partizipation, jedoch als gemäßigter als extremere Formen politischen Verhaltens: Welche Aktivitäten gehören zu:

- konventioneller Partizipation?

- politischem Protest?

- extremeren Formen? S. 65, Figure 4.1

3. In welchen Ländern unterzeichnen die Bürger häufig Petitionen, in welche eher selten? Können Sie Muster erkennen? S. 66, Table 4.1

In GB und den USA werden mit 81% am häufigsten Petitionen unterzeichnet. (1999).

Weniger in FR und in WDtld.

Dies mag zum einen auf die Bevorzugung der Franzosen liegen, eine direkte Partizipationsform zu wählen, wie etwa Streiks (offiziell und inoffiziell). In den USA wird weniger häufig gestreikt (inoffiziell) und demonstriert, was sich möglicherweise auf eine gemäßigte Protestkultur zurückführen lässt. Auch Schwierigkeiten in der Mobilisierung der amerikanischen Bevölkerung mögen ein Grund für dieses Verhalten sein. Petitionen unterzeichnen ist für den Amerikaner ein Low-Cost Aufwand, der Low-Benefit scheint Ihnen nicht so wichtig zu sein. Die Franzosen scheinen eher Benefit orientiert zu handeln.

4. Wie verhält es sich mit participation in a challenging act (genehmigte Demonstrationen, Boykotte, inoffizielle Streiks, Häuserbesetzungen)? S. 66, Table 4.1

Hier wird es schwierig eine kurze Erläuterung vorzunehmen. Während Schweden sowohl bei den Petitionen als auch bei den herausfordernden politische Handlungen sehr weit vorne rangiert, verhält es sich mit Griechenland so, dass Petitionen selten unterschrieben werden, aber GR bei den herausfordernden polit. Aktionen den Spitzenplatz belegt.

So gibt es entweder ein allgemein starkes Partizipationsverhalten in jedem Bereich der Partizipation (Schweden), aber auch ein Protest orientiertes Verhalten, wo Petitionen nicht unterschrieben werden, wohl aber aktiv diese herausfordernden Protestformen angestrebt werden (Griechenland).

Die USA und Großbritannien liegen bei den Petitionen vorn, Deutschland und Frankreich bei der direkten Einflussnahme.

Eine gemäßigte Protestkultur in den USA und GB mag der Grund hierfür sein und eine Protestkultur wie in Frankreich und Dtld. Der andere. Obwohl die USA auch eine 200Jahre alte Protestkultur besitzen (Boston tea Party).

5. Wie entwickelte sich die Häufigkeit verschiedener Protestformen in Westdeutschland seit 1974? S. 68, Table 4.2

Was Petitionen, rechtmäßige Demos, Boykotte und inoffizielle Streiks angeht, so sind diese Protestformen seit 1975 bis 1990 angestiegen und danach etwas abgeflaut. Leider gibt es keine Daten von den 1960er Jahren.

Der Peak um 1990 lässt sich mit einer Überpolitisierung der Bevölkerung durch die Wiedervereinigung erklären.

6. Was gehört nach Dalton zur dark side of Protest politics ? S. 69

Die dunkle Seite politischer Protestaktionen beginnt dann, wenn die Protestformen den Boden tolerierbaren Protests verlassen und zu gewalttätigen Protestformen werden. Bombenanschläge, wie Sie von der IRA, der RAF oder der ETA verübt werden /worden sind machen deutlich wo die Grenzen der politisch tolerierbaren Protestformen liegen. Sobald Gewalt zum Einsatz kommt um politische Ziele durchzubringen, befindet man sicher der Definition nach „ auf der dunklen Seite“ politischer Protest Aktionen.

7. Was ist nach dem deprivation approach der Grund für politischen Protest? S. 69

Dieser Ansatz gibt an, dass die Gründe für politischen Protest in Politischer Entfremdung und Frustration zu finden sein. Unzufriedenheit und das Streben nach besseren Zuständen seien die Grundlage für die Entscheidung eine politische Protestform auszuüben. Aristoteles war die prinzipielle Ursache für Protest, das Streben nach ökonomischer und politischer Gleichheit.

8. Welche Gruppen sollten diesem Ansatz zufolge verstärkt an Protestaktivitäten beteiligt sein? S. 70

Die so genannten Have-nots, die Habenichtse, die im Hinblick auf die Besitzenden unzufrieden werden und Gleichheit anstreben.

9. Welche Gruppen sollten nach dem resource approach verstärkt an Protestakivitäten beteiligt sein? Welche Rolle sollen Alter und Geschlecht spielen? S. 70

Dieses Modell sieht Protestaktivitäten nicht als einen Ausbruch von Frustration und Unzufriedenheit sondern einfach als Ressource, die Menschen verwenden können um Ihre Politischen ziele durchzusetzen (genau wie wählen, Parteiarbeit etc)

10. Welche Faktoren sind nach Dalton´s Analyse in den USA, in Großbritannien, in Deutschland und in Frankreich die wichtigsten, die die Teilnahme einer Person am Protest wahrscheinlicher machen? S.72, Figure 4.2

S.72 Tabelle

Protestaktivitäten und starke Einflussgrößen in

den USA: Alter

GB Bildung, Geschlecht, Rechts/Links Orientierung

DE: Alter, Bildung, Geschlecht

FR: Rechts/Links Orientierung, Alter, Bildung, Geschlecht

11. Wenn Sie sich die Daten für Deutschland anschauen: Der typische Protestierer ist...

zu allererst jünger, er hat wenig Vertrauen in das Parlament, ist eher männlich und eher gebildet, eher mit politisch rechter Gesinnung und eher der Union (Einheit?) verbunden.

12. Robert Putnam sagt, die politische Involvierung der Bürger geht zurück. Was sagt Dalton dazu? S. 73?

Er sagt, dass nicht generell die politische Aktivität zurückgeht, sondern, dass sich die Formen der Partizipation ändern. Traditionelle Formen wie Wählen, Parteiarbeit und Wahlkampfarbeit gehen tatsächlich zurück – aber Partizipationsformen, die von Bürgern initiiert werden und sich auf Inhalte beziehen haben zugenommen.

13. Dalton ist also der Ansicht, die alten Formen politischer Partizipation – Wählen, Parteiarbeit – gingen zurück. Wenn Sie die letzten beiden Seminarsitzung betrachten: Stimmen Sie zu?

Wenn man die vergangenen 40 Jahre betrachtet, dann hatte die Wahlbeteiligung in den 80ern Ihren Höchststand erreicht und geht nun zurück – allerdings heißt dies nur, dass sie sich auf ein normales Level einpendelt. Eine Überpolitisierung der Gesellschaft bedeutet nicht unbedingt eine Verbesserung der herrschenden Situationen. Parteiarbeit geht tatsächlich zurück. Die Individualisierung der Gesellschaft spielt hier eine bedeutsame Rolle. (Weitere Aspekte: Karteileichen, High-Cost in einer flexibilisierten Welt etc)

14. Welchen Einfluss kann die von Dalton skizzierte Entwicklung haben auf die participation gap , d.h. die Ungleichverteilung der Partizipation zwischen verschiedenen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen? Warum? S. 74

Die Kluft zwischen Menschen mit niedrerem sozialen Statuts und Menschen mit höherem sozialen Status wird in Zukunft noch größer, da die Politik an Komplexität gewonnen hat und nur „sophisticated people“ – Menschen mit einem hohen Bildungsstand und genug Zeit und genug Geld diese Komplexität durchdringen können und aktiv partizipieren können. Wem diese Ressourcen fehlen, der wird es in Zukunft noch schwerer haben aktiv Einfluss auf die Politik auszuüben.

15. Inwiefern widersprechen sich hier die Demokratieideale Beteiligung und Gleichheit? S. 74

Die Beteiligung der „Higher-Status People“ kommt am häufigsten vor, sie stellen die Mehrheit der Partizipanten OBWOHL sie nicht die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung ausmachen. Dieses Ungleichgewicht kann dafür sorgen, dass nur die individuellen Interessen der Partizipierenden vertreten werden, aber das Gemeinwohl vernachlässigt wird, weil die Mehrheit nicht partizipiert.

16. Welche möglichen Nachteile sehen Huntington und Zakaria in der „rapidly expanding citizen participation“? Wie bewertet Dalton diese Einwände? S. 75

Sie sagen, dass Politik nicht auf der Straße gemacht werden kann – die Forderungen, die mittels Protesten an ein ohnehin schon überfordertes politisches System gestellt werden sollten auf traditionellere Weise einzubringen versucht werden. Auch wird diesen Protestaktivitäten angekreidet, dass sie die Effizienz des polit. Systems verringern bzw. verhindern würden.

Legitimität und politische Partizipation. Zur Frage der Vereinbarkeit von Volkssouveränität und Kapitalismus im 21. Jahrhundert Zusammenfassung

Michael Steber

Legitimität und politische Partizipation.

Zur Frage der Vereinbarkeit von Volkssouveränität und Kapitalismus im

21. Jahrhundert

Zusammenfassung 06.11.08


Legitimität demokratischer Politik gründet auf den Willen des souveränen Volkes.

Zentrale These des Textes ist die Frage danach welches Maß an Demokratie eine von

sozialer Differenzierung, Pluralisierung und Individualisierung gekennzeichnete

Gesellschaft überhaupt vertragen kann.

Es existieren zwei verschiedene Ansätze. Zum einen gibt es realistische und beteiligungsskeptische Strömungen auf demokratischer Seite, deren Vertreter glauben dass die Wahlen (periodische Repräsentantenauslese) ausreichend seien um die Politischen Vorgehensweisen zu legitimieren. Zum anderen existieren Anhänger republikanischer Grundauffassungen, die glauben man müsse die gängigen Machtkonstellationen aufbrechen und die Verfestigung und Verselbstständigung dieser Strukturen verhindern.

Man spricht von einer Output-Legitimation, wenn der Fokus nur auf den Politikergebnissen liegt. Diese ist also zum entscheidenden Güterkriterium von Demokratie stilisiert werden. Der Bürger als politischer Mitspieler, wird in diesem output-orientierten Legitimitätsverständnis als Hindernis betrachtet – er bedroht die politische Stabilisierung und Fortentwicklung.

Ganz im Gegensatz zu dieser Annahme steht der Ansatz zu einer lebendigen demokratischen Gesellschaft. Diese fördert die staatsbürgerlichen Tugenden. Positive folgen für das politische System: Rückgang von Politikverdrossenheit, Gleichgültigkeit und dem Gefühl politischer Ohnmacht. Wer erfahren hat, dass er ein Selbstbestimmungsrecht auf politischer Ebene ausüben kann, der stärkt die Legitimationsbasis. (Auch wer nur glaubt er könne politisch Einfluss nehmen, dieses aber nicht tut, kann theoretisch die Regierung legitimieren „ Ich könnte etwas verändern, bin aber mit den Verhältnissen soweit zufrieden“ à Legitimation(?))

Die Hauptthese des Textes lautet, dass die westlichen Demokratien zu Beginn des 21.Jahrhunderts dem Anspruch auf aktive politische Partizipation ihrer Bürger immer weniger gerecht werden (weil Identifikationsstiftende und voraussetzungsvolle Mitbestimmung durch tief greifende Strukturprobleme des kapitalistischen Wirtschaftssystems massiv erschwert wird).

Demokratisierung und reflexiver Legitimitätstypus (S.14)

Der Prozess der Demokratisierung der politischen Systeme Europas begann im 17.Jahrhundert. Eingeleitet wurde er als logische Konsequenz auf das liberaler werdende Verständnis von Freiheit, Gleichheit und Privateigentum. Diese Aspekte waren nicht mit dem feudalen Herrschaftssystem zu vereinbaren. Die zunehmende Liberalisierung der Gesellschaft verdrängte nach und nach das feudale Herrschaftssystem. Der Prozess der Säkularisierung half ebenso bei der Liberalisierung der Gesellschaft durchzusetzen: Stand wird durch Vertrag, feudale Privilegien durch bürgerliches Recht und Lehnswesen durch kapitalistische Wirtschaftsweise ersetzt.

Die inhaltlichen Prinzipien (Gott, Natur) weichen dem Vernunft betonten Prinzip nach Kant und Rousseau.

Die Definition Demokratischer Legitimität in diesem Text: Demokratische

Legitimität ist […] an die mehr oder weniger direkte Ausübung der Volkssouveränität und die prinzipielle Revisionsfähigkeit ( = Fähigkeit zur Korrektur/Änderung) von politischer Macht gebunden.

Ursprünge demokratischer Legitimation finden sich in der antiken, griechischen Polis. Hier dürfen zwar nur alle Wahlberechtigten wählen (die Minderheit in den Städten des alten Griechenlandes) wählen, aber zumindest können alle Wahlberechtigten demokratisch partizipieren.

Man spricht deshalb von der Polis als Keimzelle demokratischer Systeme und Selbstbestimmter Politik.

Öffentlichkeit als Legitimitätsbasis

Die Öffentlichkeit ist von großer Bedeutung als Legitimitätsbasis ein. Die Öffentlichkeit kann als Selbstvermittlungsorgan in eigener Sache tätig werden. Dieser Entwicklung liegt aber eine vorangegangene Errungenschaft voraus: der liberalisierter Markt, der Produktion und Distribution zur Privatangelegenheit macht und die Privatisierung der Gesellschaft vollendet.

Ein Problem hierbei ist allerdings die Kluft zwischen Privatinteressen und der Anwendung von Vernunft in Bezug auf das Allgemeinwohl.

Da es keine Übereinstimmung(Meinungskonvergenz) der Meinungen gibt spricht Habermas von einer refeudalisierten Öffentlichkeit, die sich nur auf Privatinteressen stützt und deswegen die freie Meinungsbildung erschwert und verzerrt.

Strukturprobleme des Kapitalismus als Gefahr für die Demokratie sind u.a. der Strukturwandel in der Arbeitswelt, die Beschränkung der Öffentlichkeit, die wachsende materielle Ungleichheit und die Bedeutungszunahme informeller Politik zu nennen. Diese dem Kapitalismus zuzuschreibenden Probleme gefährden die Legitimierung demokratischer Gesellschaften massiv.

Massenmediatisierte Öffentlichkeit

Die Informationsflut des modernen Medienzeitalters, die Information, die als Ware dem Wettbewerbsdruck des liberalisierten Marktes ausgesetzt ist und die zunehmende Komplexität der politischen Prozesse erschweren es der Gesellschaft auf kluge Weise zu partizipieren.

Die Vielfalt von Meinungen, die durch das Medium fernsehen transportiert werden,

aber auch die zunehmende Boulevardisierung (Unterhaltung vermischt mit Information), Personalisierung und Entsubstanzialisierung (kritische Berichterstattung/politische Aufklärung geraten ins Hintertreffen) gefährden den demokratischen Prozess, da sie ihn zu einer Politikinszenierung herabsetzen. Allerdings ist nicht klar ob man Medien und Politik überhaupt voneinander getrennt beurteilen kann. Kritische Berichterstatter können gesetzlich in einigen Ländern (Beispiel Russland, Italien) eingeschränkt werden, was die Macht der Medien eindeutig bestätigt.

Steber kritisiert im folgenden Absatz die Wirkung der Massenmedien, die den Fokus nicht auf anspruchsvolle politische Sendungen, sondern auf Unterhaltungssendungen ohne großen Informationsgehalt legen. Er kritisiert die Kurzlebigkeit und den rasch schwindenden wert der Information als solche und erklärt, dass der politische Prozess langwierig sei, zu langwierig um ihn i9n dem ständigen „Präsent sein“ der Medienwelt gut abbilden zu können. (à Unvorbereitete (zweitklassige) Politiker in Polit-Talkshows, ständige Anwesenheit von Mikrophonen , viele nicht-druckreife Sätze etc)

Er spricht von einer schlecht informierten privatwirtschaftlich-dominierten Öffentlichkeit, der es an demokratischer Legitimation mangele. Die kritische Informationsbeschaffung werde somit zu einem Gut, das nur wenige Staatsbürger sich noch leisten könnten (Bildung, Erfahrung, Zugang).

Flexibilisierte Arbeitswelt

Auf den folgenden Seiten geht es indirekt um den „Neoliberalismus“. Die maximale Flexibilität in prekären Beschäftigungsverhältnissen und damit verbunden die Loslösung von heim, Herd, Kindern und Vereinen untergraben die Stabilität der Demokratie.

In engem Verhältnis zueinander stehen (laut Text) das Gefühl politischer Ohnmacht und der soziale Status. Arme, bildungsferne Schichten empfinden zu großen teilen das Gefühl politisch keinen Einfluss nehmen zu können, während die sozial sehr gut situierten Schichten zu etwa 80% glauben politisch Einfluss nehmen zu können. Dass das politische System Schulsysteme zulässt, die nicht einmal das Minimum an politischer Bildung garantieren ist ein weiterer Kritikpunkt Stebers.

Materielle Ungleichheit und Entsolidarisierung

Die scharfe Konkurrenz in der Marktgesellschaft ist keine gute Grundlage für die Bürgertugenden. Stattdessen gibt es Entsolidarisierungstendenzen ausmachen, die die Spaltung zwischen Arm und Reich vorantreibt.

Lesart ergibt. Es drängt sich die Frage auf,

Die enorm angewachsene Ungleichheit resultierend aus der Freiheit Kapital anzuhäufen und mit allen Mitteln zu vermehren sei de facto ein Angriff auf die Demokratie.

Es lassen sich zwei grundlegende Varianten unterscheiden - das liberale und das republikanische Demokratiemodell.

Im liberalen Modell geht es nicht um das Volk als Souverän, sondern die rechtsstaatliche Normierung einer Wirtschaftsgesellschaft. Im republikanischen Modell geht es primär um die politische Willens- und Meinungsbildung.

Auch in Deutschland hat der Prozess der Entsolidarisisierung zugenommen.

Informalisierung der Politik

Die Einflussnahme durch Akteure die Privatinteressen vertreten nimmt zu. Diesen Prozess nennt man Informalisierung der Politik. Solche Akteure können Mitglieder von Konzernen aus Finanz- und Wirtschaftsbranche sein, die die Interessen Ihrer Branchen vertreten nicht aber die Interessen der Öffentlichkeit. Sie partizipieren als privilegierte Teilnehmer, die breite Öffentlichkeit kann nicht in diesem Maß partizipieren. Zwar ist ein Volksvertreter anwesend bei solchen Gesprächen, aber die Prinzipien von Transparenz, Partizipation, Deliberation und Kontrolle werden hier verwässert.

Die extreme Liberalisierung der Finanzmärkte und das Verschwinden von Kontrollinstanzen um den Finanzmarkt zu regulieren spielen ebenfalls eine Rolle bei der Schwächung politischer Systeme. Die Forderungen der transnationalen Finanzinstitutionen nach minimalem Einfluss von der Politik (maximale Freiheit für das Kapital, minimale Regulierung des Arbeitsmarktes, niedrige Inflation etc) steht im krassen Gegensatz zu den Bestrebungen, die eine Demokratie vertreten sollte. Das Volk wird vom Souverän zum Spielball finanzkräftiger Akteure.

Partizipation oder Resignation

Die beschriebenen partizipations- und demokratiefeindlichen Strukturen des Kapitalismus können nur durch eine Stärkung der Demokratie entschärft werden. Das System Kapitalismus wird weiterhin bestehend bleiben, aber die Partizipationsmöglichkeiten müssen vergrößert/vereinfacht werden.

Als Voraussetzungen für eine stärkere politische Teilhabe hält Steber die folgenden Punkt für zwingend notwendig:

- gerechte Verteilung von Volkseinkommen (Wer beurteilt gerecht?)

- seriöse Informationsbasis (Frage: Wer beurteilt seriös? Der Staat? Dann aber bsp Russland: Unfreiheit)

- Zeitwohlstand (Wer arbeitet für unseren Zeitwohlstand? Möglicherweise die emerging markets?

- Politische Aufklärung

Ausblick (S.26)

Der Prozess an sich ist zukunftsoffen, d.h der Bürger hat entweder die Möglichkeit zur Partizipation oder zur Resignation. Derzeit ist die Resignation in sozial minder gut ausgestatteten Schichten allerdings relativ gering. Hier müssten die Forderungen, die Steber in den vorangegangenen Abschnitten artikuliert hat berücksichtigt werden.