Great Authors Who Riddle
By: Justin Zablocki (author, Zablocki Bros. LLC) on October 28th, 2013 12:00 AM.
Writing is one of the oldest forms of academia in existence and is unique in that it is one of the few academic endeavors that is also used for entertainment. For thousands of years people have enjoyed literature in some form for entertainment, but it is also very important because it is important in the transmission of data. Authors use written language to transmit data from person to person in a way that would be next to impossible without this written language. One device that is used commonly throughout literature, employed by authors, that shows up time and again is riddles. Some of the best authors have used them for various purposes in their writings:
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
William Shakespeare was one of the greatest playwrights to ever live. His plays are still frequently performed throughout the world. He used riddles in a lot of his plays to help portray morals and prove characters intelligence. One of the riddle from his work Hamlet:
What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
This riddle is said by one gravedigger to another and the riddle is a gravedigger. It helps Shakespeare explain his thoughts on death, especially the uncertainty of it. For more riddles on Shakespeare visit Riddles of Shakespeare.
Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)
Jane Austen was a great English novelist who is famous for her commentary on the women of her day's obsession with men and marriage. One of the riddles/charades that she wrote goes as follows:
My first doth affliction denote
Which my second is destin'd to feel.
And my whole is the best antidote
That affliction to soften and heal.
The answer to this riddle is woe-man (woman). She wrote a lot of riddles of this sort, charades as they were called, in which two separate words (or syllables) are described that come together to create a single answer. For more riddles from her visit Riddles of Jane Austen.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849)
He was a great poet and short story writer that made his entire living on writing, a feat that was uncommon in his time. Aside from writing poetry and short stories he loved riddles. He thought as himself as a genius when it came to riddles. One poem that is attributed to him is entitled "Enigma":
The noblest name in Allegory's page,
The hand that traced inexorable rage;
A pleasing moralist whose page refined,
Displays the deepest knowledge of the mind;
A tender poet of a foreign tongue,
(Indited in the language that he sung.)
A bard of brilliant but unlicensed page
At once the shame and glory of our age,
The prince of harmony and stirling sense,
The ancient dramatist of eminence,
The bard that paints imagination's powers,
And him whose song revives departed hours,
Once more an ancient tragic bard recall,
In boldness of design surpassing all.
These names when rightly read, a name [[make]] known
Which gathers all their glories in its own.
An enigma is a type of riddle. This riddle is actually 11 separate riddles that describes 11 different great writers. For the answer to this riddle and more from Poe visit Riddles of Edgar Allan Poe.
Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930)
Arthur Conan Doyle was a great and intellectual author and the voice behind Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes is the most famous detective, although fiction, to exist. Through his deductive logic he can solve pretty much any case. Each case is a set of riddles that he combines with his own intelligence to solve. One example of his line of thinking how he reacts to the appearance of his assistantís, Watson's, girlfriend:
Your necklace and bracelet are matched South African diamonds from Asprey's, flawless. Not... not the jewels of a governess. The lady you work for lent them to you. She wouldn't've done so if you'd punished her son, not even if he deserved it - human nature being what it is.
She can deduce all of this about his girlfriend from only looking her outer appearance. For more on Arthur Conan Doyle and his character Sherlock Holmes visit Riddles of Sherlock Holmes.
Stephen King (1947 - )
Stephen King is one of the few great living authors that has made a mark in almost every culture and language in the world through his writing, putting thousands of hours into his works, and perfecting every line. A lot of his works include riddles in order to prove characters wit:
Not chest or box is now discussed. Money can be held in it, but just as we test its metal, within it there is rust.
The answer to the riddle is trust. This particular riddle, like many of his riddles, is from his "Dark Tower" series. For more riddles from Stephen King visit Riddles of Stephen King.
Neil Gaiman (1960 - )
Neil Gaiman is a renaissance man of the arts, having been involved in film, novels of many genres, short fiction, and comics. He includes a lot of riddles in his works:
When there is a fire inside you i am still cold.
This riddle comes from his comic series "the Book of Magic." For more riddles from Neil visit Riddles of Neil Gaiman.
Dan Brown (1964 - ) Dan Brown is one of the most popular authors of all time (as far as books sales go), and he has done so with only six books. His most popular novels are the ones in the same series as "The Da Vinci Code." His books are riddled with riddles. The main character of all his books must solve a variety of riddles in order to save the day from the various cults and secret societies he faces. A riddle from one of his novels Angels and Demons:
From Santi's Earthly Tomb with Demons Hole,
'Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold,
The Path of Light is laid, the sacred test,
Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.
This riddle is posed to the main character of the novel, Robert Langdon, at the beginning of the novel and lets him know that he must follow the Path to Illumination in order to find all of the kidnapped cardinals and save the day. For more on this riddle and more from Dan Brown visit Riddle of Dan Brown.
If you enjoyed these riddles and want to try some of your own visit our Good Riddles Section.