The term persona was derived from the Latin word persona, which means "an actor's mask", and is therefore etymologically linked to the dramatis personae, which refers to the list of characters and is cast in a play or drama. It is also known as the "theater mask". It can be defined in a literary work as a voice or assumed role of a character representing the thoughts of a writer or a specific person whom the writer wishes to present as a mouthpiece.
Most often, the dramatis personae are identified with the writer, although sometimes a persona can be a character or an unknown narrator. Examples of persona can be found not only in dramas, but also in poems and novels.
Examples of persona in literature
Example 1: The love song by J. Alfred Prufrock (by T.Eliot)
“Then let's go, you and me,
If the evening spreads towards the sky
Like a patient who is ethereal on a table;
Let's go through certain semi-deserted streets,
The murmuring retreats
of restless nights in cheap hotels for one night
And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells:
Roads that follow like a protracted argument
Of insidious intentions, don't ask:
To lead you to an overwhelming ... “What is that?”
Let's go and do our visi t.
In the room come and go the women
Language of Michelangelo.
These are the first fifteen lines of the poem Liebeslied by J. Alfred Prufrock. The speaker is a person from T. Eliot whom he would like to present to the world, although the poet himself does not suffer from the same mental conflict.
Example # 2: My Last Duchess (by Robert Browning)
“This is my last Duchess who on the wall is painted.
Looks like she's alive. I call
The piece is now a miracle: Fra Pandolf's hands…
“Don't you want to sit down and I said
'Fra Pandolf' from the start so as never to read it…
“ At the beginning is my object. No, we're going together, sir. Hint Neptune,
Taming a seahorse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus from Innsbruck cast in bronze for me! ”
This poem is a dramatic monologue (uses persona). The poet communicates mainly about the shocking appearance of the character of the "duke". In this stanza, the character is discussing the painting as the monologue opens. Using a simple technique, the poet describes the superficiality of the duke's character, although it seems to be the poet's voice put into the duke's mouth.
Example # 3: The old man and the sea (By Ernest Hemingway)
“He was an old man who fished alone on a boat in the Gulf Stream and had gone 40 to 4 eighty-four days without fishing. In the first forty days a child had been with him. But after forty days without fishing, the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of bad luck ...
“The sail was mended with sacks of flour and, rolled up, it seemed the flag of permanent defeat ”.
The first paragraph of this book sounds as if Hemingway himself were Santiago. Through the characterization of Santiago, Hemingway expresses his faith in the struggle. However, it is up to the person (Santiago) to determine if he wants to change his luck or not.
Example # 4: Heart of Darkness (By Joseph Conrad)
“Now when I was a little friend who had a passion for maps. I would look at South America, Africa, or Australia for hours and get lost in all the glories of exploration ... and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look like it) I would put my finger on it and say, 'When I grow up I will go there ... well, I haven't been there and I won't try now. The glamor is out ... well, we won't talk about it ... "
Marlow is probably one of The Most Famous Examples of Novels. In this novel, Marlow is used as Conrad's mouthpiece. In this excerpt, Conrad tells us about his through Marlow own visit to the Congo, his experiences with sailing to distant places and his ambition to sail as a child. Therefore Marlow is used as a persona in this novel.
Function of Persona
The speaker of a dramatic monologue is also called a persona Analysis presents. However, the emphasis is on subjective qualities and ultimately left to the audience to interpret it. In literature e, authors use persona to express ideas, beliefs and voices that they are unable to put into words because of some limitations or otherwise can not express freely. Persona is sometimes also a role played by one he person or character is adopted publicly or in society.
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