Hamlet begins after the death of Hamlet's father. Characters make reference to King Hamlet's death without the plot's first establishment of said fact. Since the play is about Hamlet and the revenge more so than the motivation, Shakespeare uses in medias res to bypass superfluous exposition. Works that employ in medias res often later use flashback and nonlinear narrative for exposition to fill in the backstory. In Homer's Odyssey , the reader first learns about Odysseus's journey when he is held captive on Calypso's island. In Homer's Iliad there are fewer flashbacks, although it opens in the thick of the Trojan War.
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Examples from Literature
To save this word, you'll need to log in. Send us feedback. See More First Known Use of in medias res , in the meaning defined above History and Etymology for in medias res Latin, literally, into the midst of things Keep scrolling for more Learn More about in medias res Share in medias res Post the Definition of in medias res to Facebook Share the Definition of in medias res on Twitter Time Traveler for in medias res. See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near in medias res inmarry inmate inmeats in medias res in medio tutissimus ibis in memoriam in memory of. Accessed 28 Aug. More from Merriam-Webster on in medias res Britannica. Please tell us where you read or heard it including the quote, if possible.
In Medias Res Meaning and Function
In Medias Res means narrating a story from the middle after supposing that the audiences are aware of past events. In medias res demands beginning a narrative in the very middle of its action from some vital point when most of the action has occurred. The author then freely moves backward and forward at his leisure, connecting the dots of the story. The setting and environment also contribute to add to the details of the action introduced at the beginning of the story.
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