Jeremiad: “A prophecy that evildoing will bring on destruction; a lament. The term is an allusion to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who wrote both kinds of works,” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms
My Take on a Jeremiad
So angst + prophetic vision + telling the vision to everyone while being angsty = a jeremiad. Lol okay maybe it’s more than that. A jeremiad in literature is a work of prose that is sorrowful and prophetic. It has also been used as a plot device.
The power of prophecy is significant in storytelling, especially stories of adventure, mythology, legends, etc. Fantasy and even some horror stories use jeremiads the most, it seems. It can be exposition or be part of some rising or falling action. In yesterday’s post, I discussed Dan Harmon’s Story Circle and I think a jeremiad could work as an element of order or chaos. What if the protagonist’s desire is to prevent the jeremiad from becoming true? What if they are a crucial part of the prophecy? Are they the cause of the impending doom or are they the stopper of doom? A jeremiad has been used to the point of being a bit cliché, but I’m still planning to use it in my novel. I have a prophecy in mind and it gives my protagonist the “chosen one” ambience, but prophecy is often as influential and as powerful as those who truly believe in it and that’s what I want to test with my characters. However, there are also things in life we can’t control even when we’re forewarned about it. I guess a jeremiad can bring our characters to surrender or undying resilience, as plot devices should beckon some kind of great change in our characters…but what do you think? Is a jeremiad and the use of prophecy that constrained? Is it dying out in fiction since we live in a postmodernist age? Comment below.