Blogs by Regis Auffray
More on Paraprosdokians...
10/28/2010 9:34:44 AM
More on paraprosdokians:
Somebody got me started on these. Here are a few more, and a story (not by me!)
A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.
Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a syllepsis.
"If I could say a few words, I'd be a better public speaker." —Homer Simpson
"If I am reading this graph correctly — I'd be very surprised." —Stephen Colbert
"You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing — after they have tried everything else." —Winston Churchill
"On his feet he wore ... blisters." —Aristotle
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." —Groucho Marx
"A modest man, who has much to be modest about." —Winston Churchill
"She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say when." —P. G. Wodehouse
"He was at his best when the going was good." —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor
"There but for the grace of God — goes God." —Winston Churchill
Though some doubt the truth of his legend,
it is said that he was even willing to
take arms against the mighty Heracles.
Paraprosdokian was a legendary hero. He was not a citizen of any organized nation - he was Greek.
He was a great warrior, as handsome in life as he was centuries after his death. He had the strength, the stamina, and the wives of a hundred men. His legacy is stained only by facts.
Despite his legend, the true story of his days was not recorded by any reliable Greek historian. It was written by Herodotus. If modern day historians have correctly translated the accounts of his life, I would be very surprised.
As a school youth he was very skilled with the girls, though his teachers did encourage him to participate in boys' athletics instead, but on the other hand, he had different fingers. The face of this young child could say it all, especially the mouth part of that face. Eventually, he grew tired of following his dreams, so he decided to ask where they were going, and catch up with them later. As a young lad, he fought and killed an elephant using nothing but an oak branch. But this deed remains dubious - an elephant using an oak branch is no match for a warrior using sword and shield.
His battlefield exploits
He never went into a battle without his father's trusty sword. Or with it, for that matter. It was well known that on the battlefield he wouldn't sleep for three days, because that would be far too long. If he ever gave an order on the battlefield, his men didn't know it. But despite the hell of war, he pictured in his mind a land without war, a land without hate. And he pictured his army attacking that land, because they would never expect it.
His reputation for brutality was exceeded only by his brutality. He would tear his enemies to shreds alive, saying that he certainly could not do it dead. If the area of the nations he conquered were stretched end-to-end in a two-mile wide strip, the people from those nations would be very upset.
His love life
He was a skilled archer, though he did occasionally miss his wife.
In his early days, he would bring a new woman to his bed each night. But it got to be too crowded, so he sent them all away. Everywhere he went he sought the woman of his dreams; at one point, a different woman would steal his heart every week. After years of this, he finally had to send her away - she was just too different. He felt guilty once, but she woke up halfway through. Eventually he was married, with one child. But that didn't work out, so he married an adult. If you are curious, her name was Agatha. If you're not, it was Diana.
It is well known that ancient Greek warriors would not have sex before going into battle - no matter how much they might fancy each other. One morning as he was going off to battle, bow slung across his back, his wife asked him, "Will you miss me?" He replied, "I might. But I have a lot of arrows, so I'll just keep trying."
He was crushed the day he discovered that his wife was in bed with another man, and he asked them kindly to get off of him.
He died like a true hero - peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and shouting like the people hit by the chariot he had been driving.
I think I have written a very entertaining and informative account of the life of a great Greek hero, and perhaps one day I shall post it. But for now, remember Paraprosdokian - in ancient Greece as here today he is a figure of renown, and speech.
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More on Paraprosdokians... - Thursday, October 28, 2010
Paraprosdokians - Sunday, October 17, 2010
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