Through an ancient lens: An analysis of the Anglo-Saxon riddles of the "Exeter Book" based upon classical rhetorical forms and devices
Telinda, Martha Pope
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This analysis proceeds from the premise that the Anglo-Saxon riddle creator drew from the classical rhetorical forms and devices when creating the Anglo-Saxon riddle as depicted in the Exeter Book riddles. The study represents the detailed analysis of the rhetorical forms and devices used within the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book riddles through the application of classical rhetorical forms and devices. Chapter I includes a discussion of the historical reference for the riddle and its purpose as well as a discussion of the Anglo-Saxon riddle and its purpose. Chapter II, Patterns of Thought, includes both Invention and Arrangement as seen within the Exeter Book riddles. Some of the patterns of thought which are discussed and exemplified are: Analysis and Description; Classification, Division, and Exemplification; Comparison, Contrast, and Analogy; and Narrative, Process, and Cause and Effect. The Enigma and the Anglo-Saxon basic riddle forms are also discussed. It is in this section that I detail the various stages in the development of the riddle form--from the classical metaphor, through the Anglo-Latin riddle, and finally to the Anglo-Saxon riddle form. Chapter III, Figures of Style, includes a brief discussion of Diction and of Figures of Speech, in greater detail, as found within the Exeter Book riddles. Metaphor, Methods of Repetition, Periphrasis, Prosopopoeia, Respice, Rhyme, Symbols, and Symbolic Language, are the basic examples of the classical figures language which are discussed within this chapter. This analysis reveals the strong level of influence of the classical rhetorical forms and devices upon the Exeter Book riddles and the equally strong influence of the Anglo-Saxon riddle creator upon the basic riddle form.