A Dialogue of Figures of Speech Between Dante Alighieri and Beatrice, in the Realm of Dead

This dialogue has been conceived like a “joke”, useful to memorize the name and a corresponding example of each figure of speech (the most important ones). It is a translation from Italian adapted to English in order to maintain each figure. The correspondence between the two idioms is not always linear, and some other figures, frequent and typical of English (which in some aspect has a bigger variety), deserve to be mentioned. I hope to able to fix and complete it (refining the whole dialog) as soon as possible.


Asterismos and Hypocorism: Oh! Dante! (Note: from “Durante” the complete name of Dante Alighieri.)

Apostrophe and Ellipsis: Oh, Beatrice! You, here!

Circumlocution: Neither in the dismal pit (Note: Hell, in Dante’s Inferno IX), or in heavenly cities, but here!

Captatio Benevolentiae: Light of my life! Woman who is the only one who rescued me, you are here too? I cannot believe it!

Cataphora: I’ll say it, finally, I did nothing, as now you can see too.

Reticence or Aposiopesis: You, did nothing…?

Antanaclasis (Diaphora): I did nothing, and now I find myself in nothing, as everyone else.

Synecdoche: The mortal always ends here?

Periphrasis and Metonymy: From the king of the forest, to the scepter holders, to the ones who cook the bread to live.

Epithet: Not even the great men, or even the saints, or the fleet-footed Achilles, or any other Greek hero escaped from nothingness?

Latinism: The nihilism conquers all!

Parataxis: But how? “This one goes, this other one has to stay…” We were so afraid of judgments and sentences, rather silence comes.

Folk etymology: “Upo-Crites!” So much “gold” was shining on them, for nothing really known. You have been deceived!

Patronymic: If even the Aeneads have not been saved from nothingness, I do not say they are blessed, but existing at least…

Apophasis: …I cannot tell you how much trouble we have endured in vain, right? And finally to end here!

Simile: But anyway, I am grateful to have been “rescued” by you, as those who are saved from shipwreck are grateful to the trunk that supports them in the sea.

Hendiadys: …But that is like being grateful to no one, to the void, to emptiness.

Hyperbole: And in nothing, I still love you to death!

Truism: From death you are already dead, Dante my dear, and no one can love anymore.

Climax: I have loved you alive, I have loved you to death for my sake, can I not love you even here?

Allusion: … A Pyrrhic victory to love in such a way.

Catachresis: And yet I was no longer able to stay still into my own skin, for the joy to not-see you one last time, after I died.

Oxymoron: Quite a bitter joy.

Paradox: Maybe you really love only when you are no longer.

Epanalepsis: Oh Dante, Dante, what kind of love can be in nothing? …And after all this time…

Enallage: Do not judge me by the fact that I coming here was late. I wanted to meet you again, but it cost me a hard time to end in nothingness.

Enthymeme: You are a poet, then you know and understand what to say.

Correctio-Metanoia: Poet, sure! Or should we not rather say: fool!

Emphasis: Poet! And not like many others… you are true poet!

Anacoluthon: I understand, I say, men, generally, we try to take from women what we can, using verses.

Litotes: Well, we have to say that all those men are not exactly geniuses, and even less poets.

Hysteron Proteron: Most of them, I would like to break their nose and give them a punch myself.

Euphemism: At least we can say they leave much to be desired. Let us not speak of them…

Apheresis: No Hell torments such bunch of scoundrels! Not even one scapegoat paid the toll!

Pleonasm: But who cares about them now? Even if they, being the pettiest of all beings, deserve a burning fire.

Palinode: Yes, but I also have been wrong in life, there was nothing true about love in what I said.

Amphibology (Syntactic Ambiguity): I am glad you finally realized you were wrong, and so is Guido.

Holophrasis: Yes!

Pun (Paronomasia): Bitter is love once crossed the bridge, we live in the fridge of nothing.

Synesthesia and Analogy: But, even now that very light is silent, you are still as beautiful as the brightest star!

Irony (Sardonic Irony): A star does not shine into nothingness.

Anastrophe: Even in the blackest darkness, so strongly how you shine on, I remember.

Chiasmus: Too bad! Your guide I was, but I was never in love!

Adynaton: You would have not loved me even if I was the last man on Earth, but that is not important.

Anaphora: More than a simple man you were: a poet you were! A poet you have always been! A poet you will remain forever!

Metaphor: And you’re still the sun of my life.

Anadiplosis: That is love! Love that curses us.

Brachilogy: When my heart stopped beating, my brain thinking, my soul did not loving.

Accumulation: Gone are the days, the dances, the rides, the pains, the affections, the projects, the vices and everything.

Panegyric: So goodbye to our King of Kings, the son of an unknown father, who has sacrificed himself for nothing, for nothing he has been slaughtered, and into nothing has fallen too…

Antanaclasis: See how the rose of being once rose, is entirely gnawed from the ravenous caterpillar of nowhere.

Antiphrasis: What a happy prospect!

Polyptoton: Strongly I have to stand the strength of nothingness, where all the time ends.

Antithesis and Word Play: To be leads to nothing, there is only death in life, therefore, and then nothing? Nowhere is now here.

Apagoge: Suppose we could talk, then we would not be in anything, but we are, so the speaker is someone else now.

Apallages: We should talk willingly, but we are no longer in time, under the sun.

Apophasis (Occupatio): You could argue that this is absurd, but so it is. It is just in life that there is something, including death.

Archaism: And I believed in thy threat, City of Fire, and in thy power, Heavenly Jerusalem!

Hypotyposis: Instead we have nothing: “some” nothing which has not become, redemption and opportunities.

Dialysis: And could not we, by faith, come back to existence?

Epizeuxis or Palilogia: No, no, it is not really possible, no!

Exemplum: Aristotle said…

Assonance: Aristotle’s will itself, unwillingly, in the windy cloud of nothingness swirls.

Cleuasmo: We were nothing in life, and now we are nothing in reality.

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