One famous example of a pathetic fallacy is the scientific axiom "nature abhors a vacuum," which suggests that nature has the ability to feel abhorrence. Cultural critic John Ruskin coined the term, which refers to attributing human emotions, traits and abilities to aspects of the natural world, in the late 18th century to decry artificial sentimentality in poetry. Pathetic fallacies are commonly used in science and poetry.
In his book "Modern Painters," Ruskin sought to differentiate between examples of anthropomorphism that faithfully describes an emotion, and those that, in his opinion, contained an "untrue" quality. He used as an example of the latter a line from a Coleridge poem that states a leaf "dances as often as dance it can." The characterization of the leaf's desire to dance does not, according to Ruskin, evoke a true emotion and thus creates the pathetic fallacy. Other examples he cited included the description of a crocus as "spendthrift" and a passage in which waves "mock" the poem's protagonist.
The plays of Shakespeare contain many literary examples of pathetic fallacy, such as in the phrase "Some say the Earth/Was feverous and did shake" from "MacBeth." Another famous example is the title to the poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wadsworth.Learn More
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Nature" begins with a lament about people's willingness to accept easy answers about nature, rather than experiencing it for themselves. It then moves to a discussion about the nature of true solitude, followed by a discussion of the various ways that nature gives people insight into the nature of existence.Full Answer >
An appreciation of emotion, an artist's unique spirit, a reverence for nature and a skepticism about human society are all characteristics of Romantic literature. These characteristics are all a sharp shift from the Neoclassical literary movement that preceded Romanticism.Full Answer >
The five characteristics of an epic are the inclusion of: supernatural forces interacting with humans; acts of courage or valor; characters who have some type of national importance; a tone and voice that make everything sound important, even if it's not; and a setting that is regional, national or global in nature. An example of an epic would be the "Iliad," the "Odyssey," the "Aeneid" and "Paradise Lost."Full Answer >
Odysseus' leadership abilities lie largely in his ability to convince a crowd to follow him. When Helen married Menelaus, Odysseus was the one who convinced the other kings to unite in defense of the marriage. This may have been a hard proposition to sell as the other kings also wanted beautiful Helen's hand in marriage, but with his leadership skills, Odysseus was able to convince them easily.Full Answer >