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Definition of Ambiguity Ambiguity or fallacy of ambiguity is a word, phrase, or statement which contains more than one meaning.

Ambiguous words or statements lead to vagueness and confusion and shape the basis for instances of unintentional humor. For instance, it is ambiguous to say I rode a black horse in red pajamas, because it may lead us to think the horse was wearing red pajamas. he sentence becomes clear when it is restructured !earing red pajamas, I rode a horse. "imilarly, same words with different meanings can cause ambiguity e.g. #ohn took off his trousers by the bank. It is funny if we confuse bank which is a building to an edge of a river. $onte%t resolves ambiguity in such cases. Examples of Ambiguity &eadline' Iraqi head seeks arms Ambiguity type' "emantic. Identification and e%planation' (head( can be interpreted as a noun meaning either chief or the anatomical head of a body. )ikewise, the homograph (arms( can be interpreted as a plural noun meaning either weapons or body parts. &eadline' Stolen painting found by tree Ambiguity type' "tructural. Identification and e%planation' he headline*s two alternative syntactic representations make it structurally ambivalent' +,- A tree found a stolen painting. +.- A person found a stolen painting near a tree. &eadline' Teacher strikes confused kids Ambiguity type' )e%ical +part of speech or category ambiguity-. Identification and e%planation' (strikes( can occur as either an verb meaning to hit or a noun meaning a refusal to work.

Examples of Ambiguity in Literature Although ambiguity is considered a flaw in writing, many writers use this techni/ue to allow readers to understand their works in a variety of ways giving them depth and comple%ity. )et us analy0e some e%amples in literature. 1ead the following e%cerpt from he $atcher in the 1ye by #. 2. "alinger' I ran all the way to the main gate, and then I waited a second till I got my breath. I have no wind, if you want to know the truth. Im quite a heavy smoker, for one thing that is, I used to be. They made me cut it out. !nother thing, I grew si" and a half inches last year. Thats also how I practically got t.b. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. Im pretty healthy though.# he words they and here used by a character &olden $aulfield are ambiguous. 3ut the readers are allowed to presume from the conte%t that they might be the professionals helping out &olden and here might be a rehabilitation center. 4n a larger scale ambiguity may develop in a character or in an entire story. For instance, &amlet is a morally ambiguous character. &e kills to avenge his father5s murder. &e is good because he wants

to protect his mother but he is bad because he is willing to kill whom he must to achieve this end. he ambiguity in &amlet5s character is seen when he is hurt by the death of 4phelia which is his personal loss, but he does not feel for the effect of his actions is going to have on others. Function of Ambiguity Ambiguity in literature serves the purpose of lending a deeper meaning to literary work. 3y introducing ambiguity in their works, the writers give liberty to the readers to use their imagination to e%plore meanings. his active participation on behalf of the readers makes them involved in the prose or poetry they read. Suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief is a term coined in ,6,7 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher "amuel aylor $oleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a (human interest and a semblance of truth( into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. "uspension of disbelief often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, and horror genres. he phrase (suspension of disbelief( came to be used more loosely in the later .8th century, often used to imply that the burden was on the reader, rather than the writer, to achieve it. his might be used to refer to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. hese fictional premises may also lend to the engagement of the mind and perhaps proposition of thoughts, ideas, art and theories. "uspension of disbelief is often an essential element for a magic act or a circus sideshow act. For e%ample, an audience is not e%pected to actually believe that a woman is cut in half or transforms into a gorilla in order to enjoy the performance.