What is the definition of parallelism?

The definition of parallelism is the repetition of words or phrases for rhetorical or poetic effect.

Parallelism

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

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.

The term comes from the Greek parallelos ,...

(The entire section contains 111 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Guide to Literary Terms study guide. You'll get access to all of the Guide to Literary Terms content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Introduction
  • Complete Index
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

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.

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

Explore all literary terms.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Previous

Paradox

Next

Paraphrase