Edited by Annalisa Baicchi, Roberta Facchinetti, Silvia Cacchiani and Antonio Bertacca
[English Text Construction 11:1] 2018
► pp. 141–168
The cognitive potential of antithesis
‘To be, or not to be’ in Hamlet’s signature soliloquy
This paper investigates the working of antithesis in Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be” and its three Ukrainian translations. In cognitive poetics, antithesis is often viewed as a verbal variety of conceptual oxymoron. However, this paper argues for distinguishing antithesis from conceptual oxymoron based on consideration of the different processes at work behind their creation and reading. Significantly, in antithesis the emergent meaning retains the dichotomy of two input spaces rather than creating a new one, as happens in conceptual oxymoron. In this context, we consider antithesis in English-Ukrainian translations against the backdrop of Kaluża’s (1984) reflection on asymmetry and irreversibility in antithesis. As will be seen, renditions into Ukrainian change the perception of the original antithesis prompted by structural and semantic changes in the translations.
- 2.Conceptual oxymoron
- 3.How conceptual is antithesis?
- 4.Choice of materials and methods
- 5.Antitheses in Hamlet’s soliloquy “To be or not to be” and its Ukrainian renditions