In a literary work, verisimilitude is a resemblance to truth, like the resemblance of a fictional work to a real event, even if it is a far-fetched one. Verisimilitude ensures that even a fantasy must be rooted in reality, which means these events should be plausible in that readers think they are believable enough to somehow relate them to their real-life experiences.
The theory of verisimilitude comes from a Platonic and Aristotelian dramatic theory called "Mimesis". According to this theory, a work of art should convince the audience by imitating and depicting nature and having a basis in reality. According to the above theory, the playwright had to draw topics from sources known to the common people. He also had to establish a realistic connection between style and subject.
Duspension of disbelief
The theory of truthfulness leads to the idea of “suspension of disbelief” or “willing repeal of unbelief ", a term coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817. He felt that if a writer could fill his work with "human interest and a semblance of truth" readers would willingly suspend or delay their judgment on the doubts of a narrative. In his Biographia Literaria, Coleridge says:
“... It was agreed that my efforts should be directed towards persons and characters who are supernatural, or at least romantic, but still convey a human interest and semblance of truth from our inner nature, sufficient to provide this shadow of the imagination with that arbitrary suspension of unbelief for the moment that constitutes a poetic belief. Wordsworth, on the other hand, consisted in proposing oneself as his object, giving everyday things the allure of novelty and arousing a feeling analogous to the supernatural by arousing the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom and directing it to loveliness and the Wondering the world before us… ”
Examples of Verisimilitude in Literature
Example 1: Gulliver Travels (by Jonathan Swift)
Jonathan Swift's Gulliver Travels is a brilliant fantasy work that can be considered one of the best examples of verisimilitude It achieves truthfulness due to the fact that it is one of the finest examples of political satire in English literature. Readers will find this to be a resemblance to a reality as they are aware of the fact that Swift satirizes contemporary politics, religion and English. For example, Swift criticizes party politics in England, writing:
“... that there have been two more than seventy moons in the past Warring parties in this empire have given the names of Tramecksan and Slamecksan from the high and low heels on their shoes that make them stand out. “
Two rival political parties, the Whigs and the Tories, dominated England's political scene during Swift's time. In his novel, the fictional kingdom of Lilliput is dominated by two parties, distinguished by the size of the heels of their boots. Through the trivial disputes between the two Lilliputan parties, Swift relentlessly satirizes the petty disputes between the two English parties of his day. He thereby achieves truthfulness.
Example # 2: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (by Mark Twain)
Mark Twain used black American slang in his popular Huckleberry Finn adventures to realistically show how the "negroes" (black Americans) do in real life Said:
“I didn't do it. I stopped cursing because the widow didn't like it. but now I've taken it up again because pap had no objections ... But gradually pap became too handy with his hick'ry and I couldn't take it. I also dealt with welts. He also had to go away so much and lock me up. As soon as he locked me up and was gone for three days. It was terribly lonely. “
Twain successfully achieves truthfulness - or likeness to reality - the use of double negatives is pretty obvious in the above passage.
Example 3: Night Clouds (by Amy Lowell)
Drawing real-life analogies gives the appearance of even fantastic ideas Truth. For example:
"The white mares of the moon race along the sky
Beat their golden hooves on the glass sky."
In the above excerpt the poet constructs an analogy between clouds and mares. She compares the movement of white clouds in the sky at night with the movement of white mares on the ground. Such comparisons give your wild ideas an air of reality.
A literary work makes a lasting impression on its readers if it presents the subject in such a way that readers can relate it to real life. Compliance with the theory of verisimilitude ensures the existence of reality in a literary work.
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