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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: A Rhetorical Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0133  Sunday, 21 January 2001

From:           Erick Kelemen <
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Date:           Saturday, 20 Jan 2001 10:56:55 -0600
Subject: 12.0118 A Rhetorical Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0118 A Rhetorical Question

>> the rhetorical figure that goes like this: "ship of mortality," "table
>> of equality," "ocean of despair"...
>> You get the idea-concrete figure, plus possessive, plus abstract
>> concept-what is this type of figure/trope called?!?
> "The King's name is a tower of strength." R3 (5.3.12)
> This is similar to a "hendiaday" but instead of the "and" it uses the
> "of." I believe this is called an "antiptosis."
> Regards,
> John Robinson

The quick and easy answer, of course, is "metaphor," though that's
perhaps much too easy.

I don't think it's antiptosis, which Richard Lanham (A Handlist of
Rhetorical Terms, 2nd edition) describes as a substitution of
grammatical cases.

Rather, I think what we're looking at is a kind of catachresis, an
implied metaphor, though this definition works better with the first
examples, such as "ship of mortality," than it does with the citation
from R3.  Lanham's example comes from Hamlet: "I will speak daggers to

Erick Kelemen
Columbia College
Columbia, Missouri

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