What are some literary devices in Twelfth Night Act 3?

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kcoleman2016 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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"Quotation" - Literary Device 

  • Definition of Device
  • Meaning

"No sir, I live by the church" (III.i) - Pun

  • Pun: The use of word so that it has two meanings, often witty or humorous
  • Viola asks the clown if leaves by his music, to which the clown responds "I live by the church". In this era, that phrasing means being a religious, moral person. However, the clown really means that his house is next to the church. 

"I would play Lord Pandarus of Phrygia, sir, to bring / a Cressida to this Troilus" (III.i) - Allusion

  • Allusion: a reference in one piece of literature to another
  • The clown claims that he would be Lord Pandarus, who was a character is Homer's Iliad and considered a famous archer who prevents peace. However, in later literature, including Il Filostrato and Troilus and Criseyde, he is a wise relative who brings to lovers together, these being Cressida and Troilus. 

"The clock upbraids me with this waste of time" (III.i) - Personification

  • Personification: giving human characteristics to non-human things
  • Here, the clock is apparently chiding or lecturing Olivia for taking too much time. 

"you are now sailed into the north of my / lady's opinion; where you will hang like an icicle / on a Dutchman's beard, unless you do redeem it by / some laudable attempt either of valour or policy" (III.ii) - Simile

  • Simile: a comparison between two things using "like" or "as"
  • Fabian is explaining to Sir Andrew that unless he does something to win Olivia back, he will be nothing but a nuisance to her, and terribly cold - or unaffectionate. He compares Sir Andrew's fate to icicles that would grow on the beards of men who lived far in the north. 

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