Prosopopeya characteristics and examples

Basil Manning
Prosopopeya characteristics and examples

The prosopopoeia or personification is a literary device that consists of giving objects and animals characteristics of people. In other words, personification can be defined as the attribution of life to irrational and inanimate things, or of human qualities to all species other than man..

The purpose of prosopopoeia is to enrich and embellish a text to give it a fanciful and imaginary meaning. In some cases the personification is applied to things that have no body or that are imprecise.

Examples of prosopopoeia or personification

An example of mentioned in the previous paragraph is the following: "His soul danced with joy"; in this sentence an incorporeal element (the soul) is given the quality of a person to be able to dance.

The prosopopeia or personification is commonly used in stories, fables, poetry, and in everyday language. Although this form of expression gives the message a touch of fantasy, it seeks to activate thought, imagination, reasoning and transform the way the world is perceived.

Article index

  • 1 How to make a prosopopoeia or personification
    • 1.1 Type of text you want to write
    • 1.2 Know why you want to use
    • 1.3 Functionality of the prosopopeia or personification
  • 2 The opposite of prosopopeia or personification
    • 2.1 Examples
    • 2.2 The reification
  • 3 Personification and the performing arts
  • 4 Examples of prosopopoeia or personification
    • 4.1 Others
  • 5 Children's stories with personification
    • 5.1 Excerpt from The smug little mouse
  • 6 References

How to make a prosopopoeia or personification

The prosopopeia or personification are very common in the theater. Source:

A prosopopeia or personification can be elaborated taking into account three steps, which are:

Type of text you want to write

In the first place, to develop a prosopopeia or personification you must identify or be clear about the type of text you want to write, be it narrative or poetic. This will allow to give the human quality to a character (animal or object), or in the case of poetry to apply it in a descriptive way through a metaphor or simile..

Know why you want to use

The answer to why you want to use the prosopopeia or personification in a text must be linked to the intention and purpose that the human quality will have in the animal, object or abstract entity. This means that the personification cannot be casual, but functional.

Functionality of the prosopopeia or personification

The prosopopoeia or personification must be included in the narrative or poetry to fulfill a function or purpose, otherwise it will only be seen as a filling of text and isolated from what is expressed. For example, if a writing refers to time, it is pertinent to provide a watch with the ability to speak.

The opposite of prosopopeia or personification

Just as the prosopopeia or personification endows animals or things with human characteristics, there are also literary and stylistic elements with opposite purposes. One of them is animalization, which, as the word indicates, consists of giving human beings animal traits..


- Daniel has eyes like a cat.

- Juliet's hair looks like a lion's mane.

- His teeth are like a mouse's.


On the other hand, some texts may include reification, which is about giving characteristics of inanimate objects or elements to people or animals..


- Cinderella's stepmother was as cold as an iceberg.

- Manuel's heart turned to stone after his cat passed away.

- The athlete was as fast as a hurricane wind.

Personification and the performing arts

Personification is a resource that extends to the performing arts, especially the theater. In the theater it is up to the actors to play characters far from themselves, then they must adopt different characteristics and qualities. For example, an actor can play a historical character or personify an animal.

Here you can see the humanization of a cat through clothing. Source:

The personification in the theater is guided by an acting director and the histrionic abilities of the person who performs the interpretation..

Examples of prosopopoeia or personification

- The wind whispered through the dark and gloomy forest. It can be seen that the subject of the sentence, the wind, is personified through the verb whisper.

- The gardener lovingly added manure to his crops, believing it was making happy flowers. Flowers are humanized by giving them the quality of the human feeling of happiness.

- As we walked through the burning desert, the sun was beating down on us. The humanized element is the sun by giving it the quality of hitting.

- Time crawled as Tim sat in the hot detention room, painfully watching the clock. The humanized element is time by giving it the drag quality.

- The lumberjack leveled the large number of trees in a clearing and his chainsaw sang his deadly song. The humanized element is the chainsaw, which is given the quality of singing.

- When Monica walked through the shoe store, every shiny pair of heels called out to her. The personification applies to heels, giving them the quality of communicating.

- When the Patriots defeated the British Army, freedom echoed across the fruit plains. Characteristic personified by sound went to the abstract element of freedom.

- As Alicia searched for the missing pencil, she said sarcastically: "well, I guess she just walked away from my desk". She looked at her companions accusingly. The personified element is the pencil given the quality of walking.

- The horrible yellow wallpaper in the kitchen screamed at Kelly. The element humanized through sound is the color of the wallpaper.

- Guillermo ate the last chocolate chip cookie before his father came home, guilt peeked out and chewed him. The humanized element through peeking and chewing is to blame.

- Dew drops sing to the garden stones. The personified element is dewdrops given the quality of singing.

- Home called me in the dawn and the dew. The personified element is the home to which the quality of calling is attributed.

- The wind moaned loudly. The wind is personified to have the quality of moaning.

- When dancing the water, he remained there for a while singing and 3 men with him as listeners. The personified element is water because it is assigned the characteristic of dancing..

- A tree curves dark where the wall rises, its branches tortured like a hideous hand. The personified elements are the branches of the tree when assigned the quality of suffering torture.

- The snow whispered as it fell to the ground. Humanization was applied to snow by giving it the quality of whispering.

- The birds expressed their joy. Birds were personified by being attributed the quality of feeling joy.

- The groundhog floated indecisively. He was given the human quality of discerning the groundhog.

- Computer hates me. He was assigned the human quality of hating the computer.

- The lights flickered in the distance. The human quality of the sense of sight was assigned to the lights.

- The moon is a tough lover. The humanized element was the moon for being considered a lover.

- The sun winked good night as it disappeared behind the mountain. The quality of the sense of sight is assigned to the sun.

- The great full moon led me confidently through the forest. The personified quality of trust was assigned to the moon.

- The mountain cackled at the rumbles beneath its surface. The personified quality of the sense of hearing was assigned to the mountain.

- As the rain ran to the ground, everyone ran for cover. The humanized quality of running was attributed to the rain.

- The old car huffed and flinched as the man started the engine. The car is given the human quality of breathing.

- The wind howled a sad cry as it blew through the old windows. The human quality assigned to the wind is to scream.

- The leaves danced on the ground while the children played around the old tree. The personified quality of the dance was assigned to the leaves.

- When the boy started his math test, his pencil turned the page. The personified quality of discerning was assigned to the pencil for this page turn.

- The tornado devoured everything in its path. The tornado is credited with the personified quality of devouring everything.


- The waves of the sea danced to the sound of the wind and the seagulls fluttered smiling.

- Death ran after her, although many times she managed to dodge it, finally it took her to her dark room.

- The morning star guided him on his lonely walk.

- In the distance the murmur of the wind and the high-pitched cries of stray dogs could be heard.

- Don Gato knew of the arrival of his beloved Gatina because he read in the newspaper about her presentation at the Teatro de Bellas Gartes.

- The raging wind swept away the sad trees that remained in the forest.

- The city smiles at tourists and gives them its best settings.

- The flowers woke up as soon as the morning dew caressed their petals.

- The cicadas intoned their highest notes to welcome the bleak winter.

- The mountain was dressed in green and adorned the town with its imposing height.

- The waves hug the sand and the stones take advantage of bathing.

- The snail asked the ants to clean his house.

- Loneliness ignored the spiteful and turned up the volume to silence.

- The night fell silent and kept the shy butterflies company.

- The moon smiled at him and his heart leapt for joy.

Children's stories with personification

- the Wind and sun by Aesop.

- The cat with boots by Charles Perrault.

- The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle.

- The mole who wanted to know who had done that in his head by Werner Holzwarth.

- Make way for the ducklings by Robert McCloskey.

- Seven blind mice by Ed Young.

- Pedro the rabbit by Beatrix Potter.

- The smug little mouse by Aquiles Nazoa.

- The Fox and the Old Lion by Aesop.

- The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop.

Fragment of The smug little mouse

- “… There was among the mice that were born there afterwards a ratica more beautiful than the rose and the carnation. Her name was not mouse as you might suppose, because they called her Hortensia, which is a woman's name ...

- “But she was very proud and so it happened that once a little mouse that also lived there approached her and that, standing up on two legs, trembling like a piece of paper, she asked the little mouse to marry him ...

- "... And going out to the meadow he spoke to the sun shouting: Jeeey! You who are so important because of the world you are the king, come and marry me because I am worthy of being the wife of a character of your importance… ".


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