Online Encyclopedia

ANTICLIMAX (i.e. the opposite to " cl...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 123 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ANTICLIMAX (i.e. the opposite to " climax "), in rhetoric, an abrupt declension (either deliberate or unintended) on the part of a speaker or writer from the dignity of idea which he appeared to be aiming at; as in the following well-known distich: " The great Dalhousie, he, the god of war, Lieutenant-colonel to the earl of Mar." An anticlimax can be intentionally employed only for a jocular or satiric purpose. It frequently partakes of the nature of antithesis, as " Die and endow a college or a cat." It is often difficult to distinguish between "anticlimax" and bathos "; but the former is more decidedly a relative term. A. whole speech may never rise above the level of bathos; but a climax of greater or less elevation is the necessary antecedent of an anticlimax.
End of Article: ANTICLIMAX (i.e. the opposite to " climax ")
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