Comparing Feste's Use Of Polysemy And Homonymy '

Decent Essays
Wordplay is an important and frequently used component of Shakespeare’s written works. Aside from being a common approach by other Elizabethan writers, the puns have been used to provide comic relief, to build up tension, to provoke thoughts, and to clarify or explain. More than once do the puns either create a clear picture of the emotions in the scene or furthermore allow the audience to develop their own thoughts about what is truly occurring. ‘Pure lexical ambiguity derives mainly from two sources: polysemy and homonymy’ (Su 1994: 32), and as inferred from Cabanillas (1999: 31-36), those two are the starting point for nearly all of the prevalent and mentioned kinds of puns. There is a fine line between the two: Polysemy refers to the coexistence…show more content…
In the first sentence, Viola asks if Feste makes a living and spends his time playing the tabour, he interprets this, though, as if he is asking where his residence…show more content…
The fusion of words or their sounds, referred to by others as portmanteau, may fall under this. Similar to the example provided by Cabanillas wherein Cleopatra’s “intrinsicate” brings together the meanings of “intricate” and “intrinsic”, an example of such pun is also seen in Hamlet. “Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste” is quoted from Shakespeare. And as M.Mahood commented on the particular line: ‘The Messenger in Hamlet likens Laertes’ invasion of the palace to the ocean’s ‘inpittious haste’ because he is both impetuous and pitiless to those who bar his way’ (1988: 16) the blending definitions of ‘acting without care’ and ‘cruelness’ work as suggestions that lead to the word “haste” and also provide an insight into the character’s personality. In Act I Scene III of Julius Caesar, “I met a lion/ who glazed upon me” ambiguously indicates whether the lion’s fixed look is of admiration and eager or its counterpart of intense and angry
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