What are the figures of speech in The Road to Mecca?

An example of a figure of speech in The Road to Mecca is when Elsa tells Helen, “Another hour and I would have been wiped out.” Elsa doesn’t mean that she would have literally been wiped away or wiped out. What Elsa means is that she would have been even more tired.

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The figures of speech in Athol Fugard ’s play will be the moments when the stage direction and/or dialogue isn’t supposed to be read literally. The play starts with Elsa arriving at Helen’s house. The drive is quite long. “Another hour and I would have been wiped out,” Elsa tells...

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The figures of speech in Athol Fugard’s play will be the moments when the stage direction and/or dialogue isn’t supposed to be read literally. The play starts with Elsa arriving at Helen’s house. The drive is quite long. “Another hour and I would have been wiped out,” Elsa tells Helen. This is an example of a figure of speech. Elsa is a human. She’s not something—like dust, chalk, or a dry erase marker—that can be wiped away or wiped out. Elisa is intentionally employing embellished, inexact language. To highlight how tired the drive made her, Elsa adopts a figure of speech.

Shortly after Elsa’s figure of speech, the stage direction delivers a figure of speech. Helen is trying too hard to help Elsa settle in. Elsa is directed to reply to Helen’s nettlesome conduct with an “edge to her voice.” Elsa’s voice can’t literally have an edge to it—it’s not a table, a windowsill, or a kitchen counter. This direction is a figure of speech. Here, edge means that Elsa should reply in a tone that’s annoyed or irritated.

Other figures of speech in Fugard’s play include when Elsa says the tea will taste like mud on account of the dust and when Pastor Marius cries, “Heaven’s name!” One could also argue that Helen’s use of the word Mecca is a figure of speech, since she’s really referring to her art.

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