Ambiguity, or the fallacy of ambiguity, is a word, phrase, or statement that contains more than one meaning. Ambiguous words or statements lead to vagueness and confusion, and form the basis for cases of unintentional humor.
For example, it is ambiguous to say "I rode a black horse in red pajamas", because it may make us think that the horse was wearing red pajamas. The phrase becomes clear when it is restructured as, "I was wearing red pajamas, I rode a black horse." the same words with different meanings can cause ambiguity, as in, "John took off his pants by the bench." It is curious if we confuse one meaning of "shore", which is a building, with another meaning, which is "the shore of a river." Context generally resolves any ambiguity in such cases
Examples of common ambiguity
Here are some common examples of ambiguity:
A good life depends on the liver - The liver can be an organ or just a living person
Aliens are hunting dogs - It is not clear whether the dogs were hunted, or the foreigners are spoken of as dogs.
Each of us saw his duck - It is not clear whether the word "duck" refers to an action of stooping, or a duck which is a bird.
The passerby helped the dog to bite victim - does the passerby help a dog bite someone? Or is he helping a person who has been bitten by a dog? This technique allows readers to understand their works in different ways, which gives them depth and complexity. Let's analyze some examples of ambiguities in the literature.
Example 1: The Catcher in the Rye (by J. Salinger)
Read the following excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye by J. Salinger:
“I ran all the way to the main gate and waited a second until I could catch my breath. I have no wind if you want to know the truth. For one, a pretty heavy smoker - I used to be. They made me cut it off. Another thing, I grew six inches last year. This is how I pretty much got it and I came here for all these damn checkups and stuff. However, I am quite healthy. "
The words" They "and" here "used by the speaker are ambiguous, but readers can presume from the context that" they "could be the professionals helping Holden, and" here "could be a rehab facility.
Example # 2: The Sick Rose (By William Blake)
The Sick Rose, a short lyric written by William Blake, is full of ambiguities:
“Oh Rose, you are sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm :
He has discovered your bed
Of crimson joy;
And his dark and secret love
Does it destroy your life? ”
Many of the words in the previous lines show ambiguity. We cannot say for sure what“ bed of crimson joy ”means; the interpretation of "dark and secret love". "The ambiguity of such sentences allows readers to search for deeper meanings of the poem.
Some of those who have analyzed this poem believe that" Your bed has found out / of crimson joy "relates to lovemaking.
Example 3: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
On a larger scale, ambiguity can develop in a character or in an entire story. For example, Hamlet is a morally ambiguous character.
He kills to avenge the murder of his father
He is good because he protects his mother wants
He is bad because he is willing to kill whoever he must to achieve this goal
The ambiguity in Hamlet's character shows when he is hurt by the death of Ophelia, which is his personal loss, but he doesn't appreciate which His actions will affect others.
Example 4: Ode to a Greek urn (by John Keats )
We find ambiguity in the first line of Keats' ode to a Greek urn:
still "is inherently ambiguous. Here it can mean “an immovable object” or it can be interpreted as “still unchanged”.
Function of ambiguity
Ambiguity in literature is used to give a literary work a deeper meaning Works, writers give readers the freedom to use their imaginations to explore meanings. This active participation of the readers involves them in the prose or poetry they read.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw