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8/24/2018

A short note on Anti-climax or Bathos

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Anti-climax or Bathos is a statement in which there is a sudden fall from the serious to the trivial or from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Examples:
“Not louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast,
When thousands,or when lapdogs breathe their last”
(Pope: “The Rape of the Lock”)

Here sudden fall of importance from husbands to dogs.
“Whether the nymph shall break Diana 's law,
Or some frail China jar receive a flaw,”
(Pope: “The Rape of the Lock”)

Here is a sudden fall from the importance of virginity to the brittleness of chinaware. The sudden fall is a case of Anti-climax or Bathos that suggests that Belinda ‘s virginity is as brittle as that of China jar.

“But in the course of one revolving moon
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;”
(Dryden: “Absalom and Achitophel”)

Here is a sudden fall from several important positions to that of a clown.

“So over violent or over civil
That every man with him was God or devil.”
(Dryden: “Absalom and Achitophel”)

Here is sudden fall from God to devil.

Poets use anti-climax for provoking laughter and satiric purposes.

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