Ling 131: Language & Style
Topic 3 (session A) - Patterns, Deviations, Style and Meaning > Parallelism: literary examples
|Overview of foregrounding, deviation and parallelism
|Deviation: non - literary examples
|Deviation: literary examples
|Parallelism: non-literary examples
|Parallelism: literary examples
Parallelism: literary examples
What is the meaning connection between the verbs 'kiss' and 'kill'?
Task B - Othello
The line below is from Shakespeare's Othello. Othello has just killed his wife, Desdemona, because of his uncontrollable and unfounded jealousy. She is lying dead on the bed and he says:
I kissed thee ere I killed thee
In one sense this line merely states the obvious. Othello kissed Desdemona before he killed her. You'd have to be a bit of a necrophiliac to do it the other way round!
But it has often been pointed out that this line also encapsulates a basic thematic opposition present in the play, that between love and jealousy, or love and hate (note that these are anonyms of one another).
(Tip: it is important to note that the parallelism works at a number of different linguistic levels).
If you would like to read more of Othello, try
the following site:
Task C - 'The Journey of the Magi'
Examine the final line of the quotation. In what ways can the two noun phrases on either side of the coordinator 'and' be said to parallel one another structurally? What is the effect of this structural parallelism? When you have decided on your answer, click on the line to see what we think.