What is Ambiguity in Literature?

“Ambiguity” refers to a literary technique where a word, phrase, or sentence is intentionally left open to interpretation so that it could have multiple meanings or be understood in different ways.

Ambiguity is often used by writers to create complexity, to leave room for reader interpretation, or to highlight themes of uncertainty and doubt. It can also be used for dramatic or comedic effects.

Examples of Ambiguity:

“He saw her duck.”

In this sentence, the word “duck” could be interpreted in two ways: as a verb meaning to lower one’s head or body quickly, or as a noun meaning a type of waterfowl. The reader is left uncertain as to what the sentence means, and must rely on context and interpretation to determine the intended meaning.

Another example of ambiguity is the famous line from Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” where Hamlet says “to be or not to be.” The phrase is open to interpretation and has been interpreted in many different ways over the years, adding to the play’s depth and complexity.

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