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Proleptic or dramatic irony?

Discussion in 'English' started by annapops, May 17, 2008.

  1. Sorry,can't help. But ask cognito - she knows everything! :)
  2. pro·lep·sis
    Inflected Form(s):
    plural pro·lep·ses \-?sez\
    Greek prolepsis, from prolambanein to take beforehand, from pro- before + lambanein to take

    : anticipation: as a: the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished b: the application of an adjective to a noun in anticipation of the result of the action of the verb (as in ?while yon slow oxen turn the furrowed plain?)
    ? pro·lep·tic \-'lep-tik\ adjective
    ? pro·lep·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(?-)le\ adverb

  3. I don't even nearly know everything!

    Have you got a specific example in mind? I think they're quite different.
  4. Proleptic irony is when something is foreshadowed and comes to fruition at a later stage in the novel/play, etc. It is basically foreshadowing.

    Dramatic irony is usually used in plays when the audience knows more than one or more of the characters.
  5. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    I've usually explained the difference crudely like this:

    "Aha! He wouldn't be talking like that if he knew what we know!" D. I.

    "Aha! He wouldn't be talking like that if he'd read further in the script." P. I.
  6. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Strong examples of both in Scottish play. "A little water clears us of this deed" is heavy proleptic irony cos of "ne'er be clean" etc. later on.

    Macbeth's confident responses to Weird prohecies also proletic irony.

    Duncan's delight to be at M's castle - dramatic irony cos audience knows what's coming to him.
  7. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Sorry - p taken out of message above!
  8. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    markuss et al, thank-you.

    I've been trying to remember the correct term for 'foreshadowing' for ages, without success.
  9. Sorry to be getting back to this post so late but thank you for clearing this up.
  10. Well it's nice to learn something new. I'm constantly impressed with the depth of knowledge shown by posters on this forum and their unfailing ability to explain complex terms in an easy to understand fashion.

    I bow to the genius of the English Forum!
  11. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter


    Please ask us anything at any time.

    Personally, I like grammar questions the best.
  12. Example of a proleptic adjective given to me at school over 40 years ago:

    " The brothers and the murdered man rode forth"

    Keats - Isabella

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