Rhetorical Device Chiasmus

Chiasmus signThe Rhetorical Device, Chiasmus means repetition of ideas in inverted order.

For example: “It is boring to eat; to sleep fulfilling.”

Chiasmus frequently uses the pattern above which is present participle-infinitive; infinitive-present participle.

Other examples:

“The instinct of a man is
to pursue everything that flies from him, and
to fly from all that pursues him.”  (Voltaire)

“Bad men live that they may eat and drink,
whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.” – Socrates (5th Century B.C.)

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (Macbeth, I, i)

“Judge not, lest ye be judged”

John F. Kennedy’s famous “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”

Information from Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric and Literary Devices

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timetowritenow

For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

4 thoughts on “Rhetorical Device Chiasmus”

  1. Silva Rhetoricae gives source credit for all Chiasmus examples with exception of “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Mattityahu 7:1 Jewish translation or “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matthew 7:1 in the Christian Holy Bible, King James Version.

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  2. I sure hope there’s never a test on the names of all these rhetorical devices you keep throwing at us. I’d fail hands down. Fun stuff, though. Thanks!

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