AP Latin : Literary Device Identification

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Latin

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Anaphora

Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,                    5
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,                        10
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

What literary device is being used in lines 7-10?

Possible Answers:

Anaphora

Tricolon crescens

Alliteration

Polysyndeton

Correct answer:

Anaphora

Explanation:

In lines 7-10, the author repeats the same phrase again and again, almost verbatum, in order to emphasize the multitude of kisses he wishes to give his lover. This is an example of anaphora. It cannot be alliteration, because there is not a string of words that begin with the same letter right next to one another for emphasis. It cannot be polysyndeton because there is no excess of conjunctions, and it cannot be tricolon crescens because there is not a singular element repeated three times in succession to show that emphasis.

Passage adapted from "Catullus 5," ln.1-13

Example Question #1 : Literary Device Identification

Haec dum Dardanio Aeneae miranda videntur,
dum stupet, obtutuque haeret defixus in uno,             
regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido,
incessit magna iuvenum stipante caterva.

Which literary device is present in lines 1-2 of the passage?

Possible Answers:

Anaphora

Litotes

Hyperbole

Alliteration

Correct answer:

Anaphora

Explanation:

In lines 1-2 of the passage, the same concept is repeated over and over. The phrases "miranda videntur," "stupet," "obtutuque," "haeret," and "defixus in uno" are all slightly different ways of saying to stare or to gaze. This is an example of anaphora.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 1.494-497)

Example Question #1 : Anaphora

Si quis, iudices, forte nunc adsit ignarus legum, iudiciorum, consuetudinis nostrae, miretur profecto, quae sit tanta atrocitas huiusce causae, quod diebus festis ludisque publicis, omnibus forensibus negotiis intermissis unum hoc iudicium exerceatur, nec dubitet, quin tanti facinoris reus arguatur, ut eo neglecto civitas stare non possit; idem cum audiat esse legem, quae de seditiosis consceleratisque civibus, qui armati senatum obsederint, magistratibus vim attulerint, rem publicam oppugnarint, cotidie quaeri iubeat: legem non improbet, crimen quod versetur in iudicio, requirat; cum audiat nullum facinus, nullam audaciam, nullam vim in iudicium vocari, sed adulescentem illustri ingenio, industria, gratia accusari ab eius filio, quem ipse in iudicium et vocet et vocarit, oppugnari autem opibus meretriciis: [Atratini] illius pietatem non reprehendat, muliebrem libidinem comprimendam putet, vos laboriosos existimet, quibus otiosis ne in communi quidem otio liceat esse.

The underlined phrase is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

chiasmus

hyperbole

apostrophe

anaphora

Correct answer:

anaphora

Explanation:

The phrase "nullum facinus, nullam audaciam, nullam vim" is an example of anaphora. Here, the author repeats the same wording/phrasing in order to show emphasis of his point. This specific type of anaphora, where the phrasing is repeated three times, is also called tricolon crescens.

(Passage adapted from Cicero's Pro Caelio, Section 1 (56 BCE))

Example Question #1 : Literary Device Identification

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,
si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
cenam, non sine candida puella
et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.                  5
haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster,
cenabis bene; nam tui Catulli
plenus sacculus est aranearum.
sed contra accipies meros amores
seu quid suavius elegantiusve est:                     10
nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae
donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque,
quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis,
totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

What literary device is present in line 5?

Possible Answers:

Tmesis

Simile

Metonymy

Polysyndeton

Correct answer:

Polysyndeton

Explanation:

In line 5, the author uses the conjunction "et" many times in order to indicate just how many things must be at the party/feast. This is an example of polysyndeton. There is no association of phrases using like or as (simile), no use of a part of something to describe the whole [metonymy (e.g. "nice set of wheels" = "nice car"), and no separation of a word into two or more parts (tmesis).

(Passage adapted from "Catullus 13," ln.1-14)

Example Question #1 : Literary Device Identification

inter quas Phoenissa recens a vulnere Dido               
errabat silva in magna; quam Troius heros
ut primum iuxta stetit agnovitque per umbras
obscuram, qualem primo qui surgere mense
aut videt aut vidisse putat per nubila lunam,                   5
demisit lacrimas dulcique adfatus amore est:               
'infelix Dido, verus mihi nuntius ergo
venerat exstinctam ferroque extrema secutam?
funeris heu tibi causa fui? per sidera iuro,
per superos et si qua fides tellure sub ima est,               10
inuitus, regina, tuo de litore cessi.  

In line 8, there is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Synchesis

Litotes

Simile

Chiasmus

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

In line 8, the phrase "exstinctam ferroque extrema secutam" is an example of chiasmus. In these words, the A-B-B-A pattern (in this case, accusative-ablative-ablative-accusative) that is characteristic of a chiasmus is present.

(Passage adapted from the Aeneid by Vergil, 6.450-460)

Example Question #1 : Syntactical Devices

Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,                    5
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,                        10
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

What literary device is present in the underlined selection?

Possible Answers:

Chiasmus

Tmesis

Pleonasm

Prolepsis

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

In the phrase "rumoresque senum severiorum omnes," we see that the cases of the words are in the order accusative plural, genitive plura, genitive plural, accusative plural. This A-B-B-A structure is typical of chiasmus.

Passage adapted from "Catullus 5" by Catullus.

Example Question #1 : Chiasmus

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'                  5
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               10
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!                      15

The underlined portion contains an example of __________________.

Possible Answers:

Onomatopeia

Metonymy

Alliteration

Chiasmus

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The words versu...primo are an example of chiasmus. These words are arranged in an ABBA order (ablative sing - nominative sing - nominative sing - ablative sing). Alliteration is a repitition of a sound in the beginning of a word, metonymy is using one word as a substitute for another, and onomatopeia is the use of a word that represents a sound.

Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I. 1-15

Example Question #1 : Literary Device Identification

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'                  5
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               10
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!                      15

The underlined portion contains an example of ___________________.

Possible Answers:

Simile

Chiasmus

Hyperbole

Apostrophe

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The words longas...comas is an example of chiasmus. It is arranged in an ABBA structure (accusative pl - nominative sing - nominative sing - accusative pl). "Apostrophe" is when the speaker speaks to someone who is not present, "hyperbole" is an overstatement of something for emphasis (exaggeration), and a "simile" is a comparison using like or as (ut)

Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I. 16-30

Example Question #3 : Literary Device Identification

Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?

The underlined portion is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

Synchesis

Tmesis

Chiasmus

Enjambment

Correct answer:

Chiasmus

Explanation:

The underlined portion ("arma . . . violentaque") is an example of chiasmus. It has the ABBA structure of a chiamus (accusative pl - dative sing - dative sing - accusative pl). Note that sychesis has a ABAB structure, enjambment is the continuation of a sentence/phrase onto another line, and tmesis is the separation of a compound word into two parts. 

The correct choice is "chiasmus."

(Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I.1–15)

Example Question #4 : Literary Device Identification

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.'                  5
Questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
Me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.               10
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes!                      15

The pharetra cum in line 6 is an example of ___________________.

Possible Answers:

hyperbaton

tmesis

litotes

metaphor

Correct answer:

hyperbaton

Explanation:

The words pharetra cum present the reader with an inversion of the normal word order (usually, the preposition should appear before its object in Latin). This is called hyperbaton. "Litotes" is when a negative is used to express a strong positive, a "metaphor" is a comparison without the word like/as (ut), and "tmesis" is the separation of a compound word into two parts.

Passage adapted from Amores by Ovid, I. 16-30

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