AP Lit Vocab

  1. Define: Allegory
    A complete narrative that may be symbolic of a parallel set of situations (political, moral, religious) examples include: The Wizard of Oz, Moby Dick, and Animal Farm
  2. Alliteration
    • The repetition of identical consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words
    • ex: Doubting, dreaming, dreams no mortal ever dared dream before
  3. Allusion
    unacknowledged reference in literature (author assumes readers will understand the allusion); usually biblical
  4. anagnoris
    the climax of the play where the character experiences "the light" ex: Oedipus realizes he has indeed killed his father and married his mother
  5. Antagonist
    the person, idea, force, or circumstances opposing the protagonist
  6. Archetype
    A character, action or situation that occurs repeatedly in literature. ex: a quest, initiation, good or evil
  7. Aside
    in a play, a character reveals his thoughts to one other character or to the audience. ex: A little more than kin and less than kind" -Hamlet
  8. Blank Verse
    unrhymed iambic pentameter
  9. Catharsis
    a purifying release of emotion or tension through art
  10. Chiasmus
    words and ideas are repeated in a A-B-B-A rhyme scheme
  11. Choragos
    in Greek drama, the leader of the chorus
  12. Choric Figure
    a character who remains detatched from the action and provides commentary
  13. Chorus
    in ancient greek drama, young men who chanted in unison and performed dance movements to a flute
  14. Deux ex machina
    • in ancient greek drama, the showy entrance of a god
    • today: artificial solutions to problems
  15. Dithyramb
    an ancient Athenian poetic form sung by choruses during the earliest Dionysian festivals
  16. Drama
    one of the three main genre's of literature; an individual play or group of plays
  17. Dramatic irony
    situational irony in which the audience knows more than the character(s)
  18. English (Shakespearean) sonnet
    a 14-line poem in iambic pentameter, composed of three quatrains and a couplet: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG
  19. episodia (episodes)
    acting scenes of Greek tragedy, divided by the stasima (chorus)
  20. first person point of view
    the use of "I" or first person narrarator who relates what she has seen, done, heard, etc
  21. epithet
    descriptive words and phrases that characterize people and things. EX: godlike achilles, sleek-haired Leto
  22. Foil
    a character, usually minor, designed to highlight or contrast qualities of a major character
  23. Hamartia
    Greek word that described the error or frailty that causes the downfall of a tragic hero. ex: Oedipus-pride
  24. Heroic Couplet
    also called neoclassic couplet; two successive rhyming lines of iambic pentameter
  25. juxtaposition
    the side-by-side comparison/contrast of two things for emphasis
  26. iambic pentameter
    a line consisting of five iambic feet
  27. irony
    a means of indirection
  28. 3rd person limited point of view
    a third person narration focusing mainly on the thoughts and actions of the protagonist
  29. metaphor
    figurative language; comparison between two unlike things without the words "like" or "as"
  30. objective point of view
    AKA: dramatic point of view 3rd person narration which excludes the thoughts of any characters
  31. omniscient point of view
    3rd person narrative in which the speaker or narrator may describe the thoughts of any or all of the characters
  32. Parados
    • 1) in greek theater, aisles where the actors entered
    • 2) entry of chorus after prologue
  33. Paradox
    rhetorical figure embodying a seeming contradiction that is nevertheless true ex: I fear and hope, I burn and freeze like ice
  34. parallelism
    a rhetorical structure in which the same grammatical structures are repeated
  35. Perepeteia
    Aristotle's term for "reversal" Action veers quickly to the opposite ex: in Oedipus the messenger informes Oedipus that Polybus is NOT his natural father
  36. personification
    human characteristics are attributed to non-human things or abstractions
  37. prologue
    in greek tragedy, the introductory action and speeches before the parados
  38. Protagonist
    the central character or focus of interest in a narrative or drama
  39. Pun
    a witty word-play which reveals that words with different meanings have similar or identical sounds
  40. quatrain
    a four line stanza or poetic unit
  41. second person point of view
    a narrative in which a second listener (you) is the protagonist and the speaker is someone with knowledge the protagonist does not possess
  42. simile
    a comparison between two unlike objects using "like" or "as" ex: her words poured out slowly, as molasses from a pitcher
  43. soliloquy
    a speech made by a character, alone on stage, directly to the audience
  44. stasima
    choral odes separating the episodes in Greek tragedies
  45. static character
    a character who undergoes no change or understanding; a flat character
  46. symbol
    a specific word, idea, or object that stands for something else
  47. triad
    a parallel structure of three words or phrases
  48. third person point of view
    a third-person method of narration (he, she, it, etc) where the speaker is not a character in the story
  49. tragedy
    drama that recounts the fall of an individual who suffers but deals responsibly with the situation
  50. trilogy
    a group of three literary works, usually related or unified
  51. verbal irony
    language stressing the importance of an idea by stating the opposite of what is meant
Card Set
AP Lit Vocab
AP lit vocab for exam