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Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word didaktikos which means ‘related to education/ teaching.’ The intention of didactic literature is to present a profound lesson, not merely to entertain. Didactic plays, for instance, were intended to convey a moral theme or other rich truth to the audience. An example of didactic writing is Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism (1711), which offers a range of advice about critics and criticism. Didactic poetry teaches some moral lessons. Shelley’s “Ozymandias” can be called didactic poetry in the sense that this poem teaches a moral lesson. :

The life of Ozymandias, his arrogance, power, and pomp all turned into dust. He claimed himself the king of kings He was a ruthless King as well, His broken statue symbolizes the futility of power and pride. : The poem teaches us the moral lesson that nothing is permanent. It also teaches us the lesson that one should not be arrogant about his power and pomp.

didacticism in literature


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