Apostrophe (figure of speech)

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Apostrophe (Greek ἀποστροφή, apostrophé, "turning away"; the final e being sounded) is an exclamatory figure of speech. Apostrophe (figure of speech)_sentence_0

It occurs when a speaker breaks off from addressing the audience (e.g. in a play) and directs speech to a third party such as an opposing litigant or some other individual, sometimes absent from the scene. Apostrophe (figure of speech)_sentence_1

Often the addressee is a personified abstract quality or inanimate object. Apostrophe (figure of speech)_sentence_2

In dramatic works and poetry written in or translated into English, such a figure of speech is often introduced by the vocative exclamation, "O". Apostrophe (figure of speech)_sentence_3

Poets may apostrophize a beloved, the Muse, God, love, time, or any other entity that can't respond in reality. Apostrophe (figure of speech)_sentence_4

Examples Apostrophe (figure of speech)_section_0

Apostrophe (figure of speech)_unordered_list_0

  • "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55, Paul the ApostleApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_0
  • "O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, / That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! / Thou art the ruins of the noblest man / That ever lived in the tide of times." William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 3, scene 1Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_1
  • "O God! God!" Hamlet, act 1, scene 2Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_2
  • "Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee! I have thee not, and yet I see thee still." Macbeth, act 2, scene 1Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_3
  • "O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die." Romeo and Juliet, act 5, scene 3, 169–170.Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_4
  • "To what green altar, O mysterious priest, / Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, / And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?" John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_5
  • "O eloquent, just, and mighty Death!" Sir Walter Raleigh, A Historie of the WorldApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_6
  • "Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium!" Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-EaterApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_7
  • "Roll on, thou dark and deep blue Ocean – roll!" Lord Byron, Childe Harold's PilgrimageApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_8
  • "Thou glorious sun!" Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "This Lime Tree Bower"Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_9
  • "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so." John Donne, "Holy Sonnet X"Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_10
  • "And you, Eumaeus..." Homer, the Odyssey 14.55, κτλ.Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_11
  • "O My friends, there is no friend." Montaigne, originally attributed to AristotleApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_12
  • "Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!" Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener"Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_13
  • "O black night, nurse of the golden eyes!" Electra in Euripides' Electra (c. 410 BC, line 54), in the translation by David Kovacs (1998).Apostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_14
  • "Then come, sweet death, and rid me of this grief." Queen Isabel in Edward II by Christopher MarloweApostrophe (figure of speech)_item_0_15

See also Apostrophe (figure of speech)_section_1

Apostrophe (figure of speech)_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe (figure of speech).