Guide to Literary Terms

Start Free Trial

What is foreshadowing?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Foreshadowing is a literary technique used to give indications of things that will come to pass in the future. Authors may use foreshadowing to hint at the ways in which plot developments may occur, or they may support the introduction of certain characteristics of someone in the story by indicating...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Foreshadowing is a literary technique used to give indications of things that will come to pass in the future. Authors may use foreshadowing to hint at the ways in which plot developments may occur, or they may support the introduction of certain characteristics of someone in the story by indicating that these abilities will be valuable at a later point in the story.

Consider Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Cask of Amontillado." This story opens with the narrator and main character, Montresor, speaking. "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured on insult I vowed revenge." Based on that one sentence, Poe has already presented the motivation for the entire plot and foreshadowed the dire consequences that are probably in store for Fortunato.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team