The use of rhetoric devices in plays



Different authors use various styles in the writing of their plays to convey important messages. Among the styles used include the use of rhetoric devices to convey the messages intended by the authors in a way that audience can relate to. This study  aims at comparing and contrasting the use of rhetoric devices in the plays “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde, “The Acharnians,” by Aristophanes  and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

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The use of the rhetorical device in plays

The three plays “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde, “The Acharnians,” by Aristophanes and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” utilize various rhetorical devices in conveying the messages intended by the authors. Such rhetorical devices employed are the metaphor and irony which are reflected in the plays.  For instance, Shakespear utilizes the metaphor by Titania speaks metaphorically by comparing Oberon’s idea of her illicit love affair to fake things(“SCENE I. A Wood Near Athens.”). She says “the forgeries of jealousy” which implies that Oberon’s allegations do not make sense. Shakespear uses this rhetoric style emphasize the character of Oberon as not genuine in his words.

Also in the Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” play, the use of rhetorical device is seen the Gwendolean’s metaphor when talking to Cecily when he says “The dignified silence seems to produce unpleasant effect..” where he implies that a beat had gone without depending on the directions on the stage to inform the audience and the actors that time had gone and there had been an awkward silence (“The literature work.”). This is used by Wilde as a replacement of stage direction which enables the reader to imagine the actors’ voices.  In this play also, it is seen where  Lady Bracknell summarizes the state of marriage by comparing with natural occurrence of the weather and indigestion implying that in her own view marriage is more than just a physical occurrence and these may be meaningless to Jack and Algernon and they grow old.

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In the play “The Acharnians” by Aristophanes, there is also the use of metaphor Dicaeopolis is seen abusing the Ambassador that he would have his eyes plucked out by a crow. Dicaeopolis says “I would a crow might pluck out yours with his beak..” which conveys his message as to how much he hates the Ambassador(Starkie & Myles  3).  The author uses a crow to convey cruelty in Dicaeopolis character through what he wishes had to happen to the Ambassador.

In all the plays, the use of metaphor has been used to convey a heavy message in a very comic and simple way. This is by the use of the things the audience can relate and be able to imagine and picture the scene of the play in their mind.  Again, in all of these rhetorical devices used, they have been used as a way of the character attacking each other and thus the authors have chosen this style as a softer language of abuse among the characters.  Furthermore, in their build of the metaphors as a rhetoric device, all the authors use the direct comparison without the use of the comparing works as it usually the norm with metaphors.

However, unlike the other authors who have used the metaphorical la language of the living things, Shakespear uses nonliving things in his creation of the metaphors.  Thus this makes the depth of conveying the message differently since the audience relates more to a living thing than nonliving things. Again, as opposed to other author’s metaphors that create pictures in the minds of the audience, Wilde’s metaphor is used to create voices in the minds of the audience.


In conclusion, in all the plays by Shakespear, Wilde, and Aristophanes, they employ the use of rhetorical devices. The authors focus on making the audience to understand their message in the simplest way possible. Despite using this style in different scenarios, all these authors achieve one goal of making the audience relate to their story.

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Did you like this sample?
  1. “SCENE I. A Wood Near Athens.”. Shakespeare.Mit.Edu, 2018
  2. Starkie, William Joseph Myles, ed. The Acharnians of Aristophanes. Macmillan and Company, limited, 1909.
  3. The literature work. “The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde: Act 1”. Online-Literature.Com, 2018
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