A complex definition of the figure, anadiplosis, develops in the tradition that runs from ancient Greek and Roman rhetoricians up to sixteenth-century continental rhetorical theorists such as Susenbrotus. Drawing on and enriching this tradition, the English rhetoricians of Shakespeare's day defined the figure as the repetition of the word or words with which one phrase or line ends, at or near the beginning of the succeeding phrase or line. A series of anadiploses was understood to make for a gradatio (or climax). Having been schooled in these and other definitions of the tropes and figures, Shakespeare implements anadiplosis, as well as the rhetoricians’ rich metaphorical description of it, in his text. In so doing, he enhances his representation of people who are impassioned, thoughtful, witty, deranged, and ridiculous. In keeping with the rhetoricians’ recognition of the polysemy of the figure, Shakespeare also implements this figure to narrate events and make some of them seem inevitable (usually in history and tragedy) and others unlikely (usually in comedy). The Shakespearean script also frequently includes dialogic anadiplosis: the sharing of the figure by two speakers. In this form, it plays a significant role in Shakespeare's creation of authentic dialogue.

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