Foreshadowing in The Middle of The Night

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 654 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 654|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024


Foreshadowing is a literary device that authors use to hint at future events in a story. It serves to build anticipation in the reader, create a cohesive narrative, and enhance thematic depth. One of the most compelling settings for the use of foreshadowing is the middle of the night, a time traditionally associated with mystery and suspense. In this essay, we will explore quotes from various literary works that utilize nocturnal settings for foreshadowing, analyzing how these quotes contribute to the overall narrative and emotional impact of the stories.

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One of the quintessential examples of nocturnal foreshadowing can be found in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. In Act 2, Scene 1, Banquo says, "A heavy summons lies like lead upon me, / And yet I would not sleep: merciful powers, / Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature / Gives way to in repose." This quote occurs in the dead of night, a time when the veil between the conscious and the subconscious thins. Banquo’s inability to sleep and his reference to "cursed thoughts" serve as a harbinger of the dark events to come. The audience is primed for the impending murder of King Duncan, creating a sense of dread and inevitability. The nocturnal setting amplifies the tension, making the foreshadowing more palpable and the subsequent events more impactful.

Similarly, in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the night is used to foreshadow critical plot developments. In Chapter 7, Nick Carraway describes, "So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight." Although this quote occurs at twilight rather than the middle of the night, it serves a similar purpose in setting the tone for tragic events. The transition from day to night symbolizes the impending doom that awaits the characters. The phrase "drove on toward death" is a direct foreshadowing of the fatal car accident that follows. The cooling twilight serves as a metaphor for the cooling relationships and the impending demise of Gatsby’s dreams.

In modern literature, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl employs nocturnal foreshadowing with similar effectiveness. In one of the diary entries, Amy writes, "I sometimes wake in the middle of the night and find Nick is not in bed, and I go downstairs and see him, standing in the dark, and I am afraid to talk to him." This quote serves multiple purposes. It foreshadows the unraveling of Amy and Nick’s relationship, hinting at the deeper, darker secrets that will emerge. The image of Nick standing in the dark evokes a sense of foreboding, suggesting that he is hiding something sinister. The middle-of-the-night setting enhances the suspense, making the reader apprehensive about what is to come.

The use of nocturnal settings for foreshadowing is not limited to Western literature. In Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, the night serves as a backdrop for enigmatic events. At one point, Kafka says, "Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions... You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn." This quote encapsulates the novel’s existential themes while foreshadowing the turbulent journey Kafka will undergo. The reference to "just before dawn" implies that the darkest moments are yet to come, preparing the reader for the trials ahead.


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Foreshadowing in the middle of the night is a powerful literary technique that enhances the emotional and narrative depth of a story. Quotes set in nocturnal settings create an atmosphere of suspense and mystery, preparing the reader for future events while enriching the thematic elements of the work. From Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, the use of night as a backdrop for foreshadowing demonstrates its effectiveness across different genres and cultural contexts. By examining these quotes, we gain a deeper understanding of how authors manipulate time and setting to craft compelling narratives that resonate with readers long after the final page is turned.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Foreshadowing in the Middle of the Night. (2024, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“Foreshadowing in the Middle of the Night.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2024,
Foreshadowing in the Middle of the Night. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
Foreshadowing in the Middle of the Night [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from:
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