Aporia is a figure of speech in which a speaker pretends or expresses doubt or perplexity regarding a question (often pretended) and asks the audience how to proceed. Doubts can appear as rhetorical questions, often at the beginning of the text
Aporia is a logical paradox in which the speaker sows seeds of doubt on a topic. This rhetorical strategy can make the audience feel sympathetic to the speaker in relation to the dilemma she is in. It is also called "doubt", which means that the uncertainty is always false.
Could be a question or a statement.
It is often used in philosophy. It relates to philosophical questions and topics that have no obvious answers.
Plato and Socrates were well-known for using aporia.
Examples of aporia in literature
Example # 1: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
“To be or not to be: that's the question. sea of problems,
What about opposing to end them? Die: sleep;
What to fly to others that we do not know?
So conscience makes us all cowards ... ”
This is a prominent example of aporia available in English literature. it is an opening soliloquy, spoken by Hamlet in the famous play. Here, the statement, "To be or not to be" introduces the uncertainty that characterizes the paragraph.
Example # 2: The Unnameable (by Samuel Beckett)
"Where now? Now, when now, unquestionable. Me, I say incredulous. Questions, hypotheses, I call them that. Go ahead, go ahead, call that, call that ".
" ... or by invalidated affirmations and denials as said, or sooner or later? "
" ... There must be other changes. Otherwise it would be pretty useless. I should mention before continuing ... "
" Can one be apathetic otherwise than inadvertently? I don't know. "
" What should I do? I do, what should I do, in my situation, how to proceed? With Aporia plain and simple ... ”
“ It will be me? It will be the silence where I am, I don't know, I will never know, in the silence you don't know you have to go on, I can't go on, I'll go on. “
Beckett's entire work is characterized by the use of Aporia. These passages have many questions and doubts and a shift in meaning. For Beckett, Aporia can never be viewed as an immutable state of ignorance.
Example 3: American Buffalo (by David Mamet)
Don: "We have a deal with the man."
Teach: "With Fletcher."
Teach : “We had a deal with Bobby
Don: What does that mean?
Don: "What did you mean by that?"
Teach: "I didn't mean anything."
Don: "You didn't mean it 't. ”
Teach:“ No? ”
The above excerpt is an example of Aporia that shows many doubts in the speech. There is uncertainty and reasonable questions, but it is expressed in a lighter tone.
Example 4: The Road That Was Not Taken (by Robert Frost)
“Two roads diverged in a yellow forest,
. And I'm sorry I couldn't drive both diverged in a forest, and I -
I took the less traveled one,
And that made the difference.
In the last two lines of the given poem, the poet uses the aporia, which is a self-contradictory dead end that cannot be resolved in the text. Similarly, in the poem readers find themselves at a dead end, while the final evidence falls into A paradox
The aporia is an expression of doubt or uncertainty. When uncertainty and doubt are genuine, they can indicate a real dead end and stimulate the audience to consider different resolution options. It could show the humility of a speaker when in doubt. However, its function is to guide the audience as to what the speaker wants to say if the doubt is not sincere.
The aporia causes uncertainty and makes the audience discover the certainty through subsequent statements by the speaker. is to give the audience the opportunity to analyze and judge the situation.
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