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Tropes and Figures
The links below are almost all to Harris and Scaife's Internet Handlist of Rhetorical Devices, or to Gideon Burton's Silva Rhetoricae.
I have selected the tropes and figures most frequently used in rhetorical criticism. Also see "Rhetorical Figures in Sound" from the American Rhetoric site.
Tropes are semantic in function. They are substitutions of terms where one term holds a place in a string of words for another which is usually not present. Many critics today use the term metaphor for this class of device when they should more properly use trope, since a metaphor is only the simplest form of trope.
Figures are syntactic in function. They represent symmetries in or unexpected plays on the order of words in a clause or group of clauses. There is often overlap between tropes and figures: for instance, how do you decide when a variation on the same thought represents a repetition in different terms (exergasia) and when it represents an amplification? In this and similar cases it is critic's choice.
Unusual Word Order
Anastrophe | Parenthesis | Apposition | Hendiadys |
Ellipsis | Asyndeton | Polysyndeton