What is the definition of parallelism?
The definition of parallelism is the repetition of words or phrases for rhetorical or poetic effect.
Last Updated on December 6, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 111
Parallelism - an arrangement of the parts of a composition so that elements of equal importance are balanced in similar constructions. This arrangement may be applied to words, phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, or complete units of compositions. Parallelism is a rhetorical device.
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The term comes from the Greek parallelos, meaning “beside one another.”
Shakespeare used this device in his Richard II when King Richard laments his position:
I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
My figured goblets for a dish of wood . . . .
Act III, scene iii : lines 170 – 173
see: antithesis, subplot
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