Last Updated on March 17, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 110
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.
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