Guide to Literary Terms Persona

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Persona - a character in drama or fiction or the part any one sustains in the world or in a book. Persona also denotes the “I” who speaks in a poem or novel.

The term is from the Latin persona, meaning “actor’s mask,” “character acted,” or “human being.”

The term was used in Jungian psychology as “Public personality,” which means the facade or mask presented to the world, but not representative of inner feelings and emotions. Two well-known personas are the narrator in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Gulliver of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

see: monologue, point of view

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