Climax and Anticlimax

Topics: The Climax Pages: 5 (1678 words) Published: April 21, 2013
1.The meaning of climax and anticlimax
The Greek word climax means “ladder”; the Latin gradatio means “ascent, climbing up”. In climax we deal with strings of synonyms or at least semantically related words belonging to the same thematic group.[4, p. 155] According to Efimov L. P., climax (or Gradation) – is the figure of unequality, which consists in arranging the utterance so that each subsequent component of it increases significance, importance or emotional tension of narration.[1, p. 69] Galperin I. R. views climax as an arrangement of sentences (or of the homogeneous parts of one sentence) which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance, or emotional tension in the utterance, as in: "It was a lovely city, a beautiful city, a fair city, a veritable gem of a city." or in:

"Ne barrier wall, ne river deep and wide,
Ne horrid crags, nor mountains dark and tall
Rise like the rocks that part Hispania's land from Gaul." (Byron) Gradual increase in emotional evaluation in the first illustration and in significance in the second is realized by the distribution of the corresponding lexical items. Each successive unit is perceived as stronger than the preceding one. Of course, there are no objective linguistic criteria to estimate the degree of importance or significance of each constituent. It is only the formal homogeneity of these component parts and the test of synonymy in the words 'lovely', 'beautiful', 'fair,' 'veritable gem, in the first example and the relative inaccessibility of the barriers 'wall', 'river', 'crags', 'mountains' together with the epithets 'deep and wide" 'horrid', 'dark and tall' that make us feel the increase in importance of each.[1, p.220] 2.Different types of climax

A gradual increase in significance may be maintained in three ways: logical, emotional and quantitative. Logical climax is based on the relative importance of the component parts looked at from the point of view of the concepts embodied in them. This relative importance may be evaluated both objectively and subjectively, the author's attitude towards the objects or phenomena in question being disclosed. Thus, the following paragraph from Dickens's "Christmas Carol" shows the relative importance in the author's mind of the things and phenomena described: "Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?' No beggars imgjored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked Jiim what it -was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him, and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails, as though they said, 'No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'" The order of the statements shows what the author considers the culmination of the climax. The passage by Dickens should be considered "subjective", because there is no general recognition of the relative significance of the statements in the paragraph. The climax in the lines from Byron's "Ne barrier..." may be considered "objective" because such things as 'wall', 'river', 'crags', 'mountains' are objectively ranked according to their accessibility. Emotional climax is based on the relative emotional tension produced by words with emotive meaning, as in the first example with the words 'lovely', 'beautiful', 'fair'. Of course, emotional climax based on synonymous strings of words with emotive meaning will inevitably cause certain semantic differences in these words — such is the linguistic nature of stylistic synonyms—, but emotive meaning will be the prevailing one. Emotional climax is mainly found in sentences, more rarely in longer syntactical units. This is natural. Emotional charge cannot hold long. As becomes obvious from the analysis of the above examples of climatic order, the arrangement of the component parts...
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