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Home » Shakespeare's Works » Elements » Figures of Speech » Figures of Speech by Name » Aposiopesis


Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis) is a sudden breaking off of an utterance before it is completed, usually in moments of emotion. “O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, / And men have lost their reason. Bear with me, / My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, / And I must pause till it come back to me…” Julius Caesar, 3.2.82.

Aposiopesis is an example of:

O that this too too solid flesh would melt

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O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!Epizeuxis & Metaphor

Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!Metonymy
O God, God,
How Synonymiaweary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!

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At what hour tomorrow Shall I attend your Lordship?

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At what hour tomorrow
Shall I attend your Lordship?
At any time ‘fore noon.

Save your honor.
 She exits, with Lucio and Provost.

O cunning enemy that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook.

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You bear a gentle mind, and heav’nly blessings

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You bear a gentle mindSynecdoche, and heav’nly blessings
Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note’s
Ta’en of your many virtues, the King’s Majesty
Commends his good opinion of you to you, and
Does purpose honor to youAnthimeria no less flowing
Than Marchioness of Pembroke,
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Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

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Friends, Romans, countrymenExordium, lend me your earsSynecdoche!
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.Antithesis
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bonesAntithesis
So let it be with Caesar.
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