The UVic Writer's Guide

Chiasmus consists of two parallel phrases in which corresponding words are placed in the opposite order, with their juxtaposition sometimes reinforced by alliteration, assonance or consonance.

In his Essay on Criticism (1711), Pope looks for a poet, "Though learned, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere" Another example is the chant of the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth (1605-06): "Fair is foul, and foul is fair."

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995

This page updated September 23, 1995