Parallelism in English Literature

When coordinated concepts are placed in phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that balance one element with another of equal importance and similar phrasing, it is known as parallelism, a rhetorical device used in both prose and poetry. It helps to organize, underline, and draw attention to relationships when sounds, meanings, and structures are repeated.

Parallelism has a significant role in Hebrew poetry as well as in the majority of ancient Middle Eastern literary works. There are numerous stunning examples of parallelism in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, which indicate the impact of Hebrew poetry.

Parallelism is the matching of the forms of words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. The repeating of comparable grammatical forms is known as parallelism. It is an effective instrument for writing and public speaking.

• “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
This quote is attributed to Julius Caesar.

This is an example of parallel construction because “I” is repeated after a verb. A concept or argument can be made more understandable and memorable by using parallelism. It also demonstrates how equally significant each repetition of a structure is. Furthermore, it is an effective instrument for public speaking.

Many well-known leaders have communicated with the public using Parallelism throughout history.

Here is a famous saying by Abraham Lincoln:

• “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

In all three clauses, Lincoln repeats the words “people” and “time”. However, he completely flips the word order. The 28-word quotations rhythm and parallel construction make it simple to remember.

• In its simplest form parallelism consists of single words that have a slight variation in meaning: “ordain and establish” or “overtake and surpass.” Sometimes three or more units are parallel; for example, “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man” (Francis Bacon, “Of Studies”).

• Parallelism may be inverted for stronger emphasis; “I have changed in many things: in this, I have not” (John Henry Newman, Apologia pro-Vita Sua, 1864).

• Parallelism lends wit and authority to the antithetical aphorism; e.g., “We always love those who admire us, but we do not always love those whom we admire” (La Rochefoucauld, Maximes, 1665).

• From the Psalms: “but they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues” (Psalms 78:36).

• “we will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord” (Psalms 78:4).


Author: Ador

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