Pathetic error is a literary device that ascribes human qualities and emotions to inanimate objects of nature. The word pathetic in the term is not used in the derogatory sense of misery; Rather, it stands for "conveying emotions to something else".
Difference between pathetic error and personification
In general, pathetic error is confused with personification. The fact is that they differ in their function. Pathetic error is a kind of personification that gives inanimate people human emotions to objects of nature; B. Weather characteristics that reflect a mood. Personification, on the other hand, is a broader term. It gives human attributes to abstract ideas, animated natural objects or inanimate, non-natural objects.
For example, the phrase "The gloomy clouds darkened our mood" is a pitiful error, since an inanimate natural object that reflects a mood is given human characteristics. However, the phrase "the sparrow that spoke to us" is a personification because the vivid object of nature - the sparrow - is given the human quality of "speaking".
Examples of Pathetic Error in the Literature
Let us analyze some examples of pathetic error in the literature:
Example 1: Macbeth (by William Shakespeare)
Shakespeare uses pathetic error in his play Macbeth to describe the dark murder of Macbeth the character Duncan. In Act 2, Scene 3, Lennox says:
“The night was unruly. Where we lay,
Our chimneys were blown, and as they say,
Lamentings heard the air, strange screams of death,
And with accents prophesy Terrible burning and confused events
New slipped into the sad time. The obscure bird
Clamored the lifelong night , the earth
became feverish and trembled. “
The pathetic error examples in the above lines describe the ominous atmosphere on the night of Duncan's Murder Night, the screams of death in the air and the feverish earth depict the evil act of murder that took place the night before.
Example 2: Wuthering Heights (by Emily Bronte)
Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights is full of pathetic errors. The title itself shows the use of this device, as the word Wuthering means "to blow strongly with a roaring sound". Hence, "Wuthering Heights" means choppy and aggressive weather that represents the nature of its inhabitants. There are many examples in the novel where the mood of nature represents the nature of events in the narrative.
For example, the character Lockwood is caught in a blizzard before the nightmare scene, the "wild and windy" night at the time of Mr. Earnshaw's death, the "violent storm" on the night Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights and stormy weather outside when Cathy chooses between Heathcliff and Edgar indicates her inner confusion.
Example # 3: Ode to Melancholy (by John Keats)
Keats employs a pathetic fallacy in his Ode to Melancholy:
“But when the melancholy attack will fall
Suddenly from the sky like a weeping cloud
that fosters all the drooping head flowers
and hides the green hills in an April shroud ”
The feeling of melancholy has been described by attributing the human emotion of crying to the clouds.
Example 4: I walked alone like a cloud (by William Wordsworth)
William Wordsworth, in his poem I wandered alone like a cloud, says:
“I wandered alone like a cloud
that floats and n the top of valleys and hills ”,
The poet describes clouds as lonely, to describe his own state.
Example # 5: Great Expectations (by Charles Dickens)
Charles Dickens makes use of a pathetic fallacy in his novel Great Expectations. At the beginning of chapter 39, its protagonist, Pip, comments on the “miserable weather”:
“Day after day, a great and heavy veil had been passing over London from the East, and it moved still, as if in the East there were an Eternity of clouds and wind. it was the gusts, that the high buildings of the city had had the lead removed from their roofs; and in the field, trees had been uprooted and the sails of the windmills had been carried away; and gloomy tales had come from the shore, of shipwreck and death. Violent gusts of rain had accompanied these raging winds, and the day that had just closed when I sat down to read had been the worst of all. ”
The furious gusts, and the fury of the wind indicate Pip's confusing inner world.
Function of the pathetic fallacy
By employing the pathetic fallacy, writers try to bring inanimate objects to life, so that the nature of emotions they want to convey is understood in a better way. This is because it is easier for readers to relate to abstract emotions when observing them in their natural environment. Additionally, the use of pathetic error encourages readers to develop a perspective that is both new and creative.
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