Alliteration is a literary device that involves the repetition of the initial sound of consonant words in a phrase or sentence. This repetition creates a musical effect and can add emphasis or a playful tone to the text. Is alliteration figurative language? Yes, it is.
How to pronounce alliteration?
Examples of Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet
One example of alliteration in William Shakespeare’s work can be found in his play “Romeo and Juliet.” Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2, Romeo says, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” In this line, the initial “t” sound in “teach,” “torches,” and “to” creates a sense of urgency and passion in Romeo’s words.
Alliteration in Romeo and Juliet Act 1
For example, in the opening lines spoken by Sampson, there is alliteration in the phrase “Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.” This use of alliteration enhances the rhythm of the dialogue and adds a poetic quality to the play’s language. An alliteration is a common tool used by Shakespeare to create memorable and melodious lines throughout his works.
Excessive alliteration in Midsummer Night’s Dream
Moreover, alliteration in Shakespeare’s play, there is alliteration in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Act 2, Scene 1, Bottom says, “I have had a rarest vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.” This passage uses the repetition of the initial “m” sound in “man,” “most,” “me,” “man,” “mind,” and “man” to create a dreamy and mystical tone.
Alliteration in “As You Like It”
“As You Like It” is a play written by William Shakespeare, and it contains several instances of alliteration. Alliteration is used to create musicality, emphasize certain words or phrases, and add a poetic quality to the dialogue. Here are some examples of alliteration from “As You Like It”:
- “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. In this famous speech, Shakespeare uses alliteration with the repetition of the “w” sound in “world’s,” “women,” and “players” to emphasize the universal nature of life as a theatrical performance.
- “Sweet are the uses of adversity”. The repeated “s” sound in “sweet,” “uses,” and “adversity” adds a lyrical quality to the line.
- “With a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow”. The repeated “w” sound in “woeful,” “ballad,” and “made” adds to the poetic and romantic tone.
- “From hour to hour we ripe and ripe, And then from hour to hour, we rot and rot”. The repetition of the “r” sound in “ripe,” “rot,” “hour,” and “hour” creates a rhythmic effect that reflects the cyclical nature of life.
- “By the rushy-fringed bank, Where the willow grows”. The repeated “r” sound in “rushy-fringed,” “bank,” “willow,” and “grows” adds to the imagery of a peaceful, natural setting.
- “Which, like a toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head”. The repetition of the “u” sound in “toad,” “ugly,” “venomous,” “jewel,” and “head” contrasts the negative description of the toad with the notion of hidden beauty.
Alliteration in “The Great Gatsby“
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald also uses alliteration to create a sense of longing and nostalgia. Chapter 1 describes Gatsby as “standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes.” This repetition of the ‘l’ sound in “looking” and “alone” further creates a sense of loneliness.
Chapter 4 also describes Gatsby as being “sad in a beautiful way”. This repetition of the ‘s’ sound creates a sense of longing and sadness.
In conclusion, alliteration adds musicality, emphasis, and a playful or serious tone to the text. Lastly, the works of William Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald are great examples of alliteration. In fact, alliteration enhances the meaning and tone of their writing.
Alliteration in “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner”
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a famous poem that features several instances of alliteration. Here are some examples of alliteration from the poem:
- “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew” – In this line, the repeated “b” sound in “blew,” “breeze,” “white,” and “foam” creates a sense of movement and reinforces the imagery of the wind and sea.
- “Day after day, day after day” – This repetition of the “d” sound emphasizes the monotonous and seemingly endless nature of the mariner’s journey.
- “Water, water, every where” – The repetition of the “w” sound emphasizes the abundance of water surrounding the mariner’s ship.
- “The souls did from their bodies fly” – The repeated “s” sound in “souls,” “bodies,” and “fly” creates a soft and eerie effect that suits the supernatural theme of the poem.
- “And the rain poured down from one black cloud” – The repeated “r” sound in “rain,” “poured,” “down,” and “black” adds to the imagery of heavy rainfall and dark clouds.
- “Like one that on a lonesome road” – The repeated “l” sound in “like,” “lonesome,” and “road” creates a melancholic tone and emphasizes the feeling of isolation.
These examples showcase how Coleridge uses alliteration in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to create a musical and evocative effect, enhancing the poem’s storytelling and atmosphere.
Alliteration Examples in “The Raven”
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is another famous poem that makes use of alliteration to create a haunting and melodic effect. Here are some examples of alliteration from the poem:
- “Once upon a midnight dreary” – The repeated “m” sound in “midnight” and “dreary” adds to the dark and somber mood of the poem.
- “Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before” – The repetition of the “d” sound in “doubting,” “dreaming,” “dreams,” “dared,” and “before” creates a sense of hesitation and uncertainty.
- “And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain” – The repetition of the “s” sound in “silken,” “sad,” “uncertain,” “rustling,” and “each” contributes to the eerie and mysterious atmosphere.
- “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing” – The repetition of the “d” sound in “deep,” “darkness,” “peering,” “stood,” “wondering,” and “fearing” intensifies the sense of fear and unease.
- “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil!” – The repetition of the “p” sound in “Prophet,” “said,” “thing,” “evil,” “still,” “prophet,” “bird,” and “devil” adds to the rhythmic quality of the lines and emphasizes the speaker’s agitation.
- “And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting” – The repetition of the “s” sound in “Raven,” “never,” “flitting,” “still,” “sitting,” and “sitting” contributes to the hypnotic and repetitive nature of the poem.
These examples demonstrate how Edgar Allan Poe effectively uses alliteration in “The Raven” to create a sense of unease, suspense, and rhythm, making it one of the most memorable and captivating poems in American literature.
Alliteration in I have a Dream
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is renowned for its powerful use of rhetoric, but it is not heavily focused on alliteration. However, there are a few instances where King employs this literary device to emphasize his points. One example can be found in the following line from the speech:
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
In this sentence, the repetition of the “th” sound in “thirst,” “freedom,” “the,” “cup,” and “bitterness” creates a subtle alliterative effect. While not as prominent as other rhetorical techniques in the speech, this use of alliteration contributes to the overall rhythmic and persuasive quality of King’s words.
Alliteration Examples in Literature
- “She sells seashells by the seashore.” – Mary Anning, attributed to Terry Sullivan
- “The whispering wind whistled through the window.” – Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
- “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” – Anonymous tongue twister
- “Big black bats bit back best.” – Dr. Seuss, “Oh Say Can You Say?”
- “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes; A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.” – William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”
- “The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the furrow followed free.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
- “I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet.” – Robert Frost, “Acquainted with the Night”
- “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe.” – James Joyce, “The Dead”
- “The sun sank slowly, silently, slantingly, and sunk away.” – Virginia Woolf, “To the Lighthouse”
- “In the deep, damp darkness, the dragon dozed.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit”
Famous Alliteration Examples in Romeo and Juliet
Alliteration examples in “Romeo and Juliet,” alliteration is used to add emphasis, rhythm, and poetic flair to the dialogue. Here are some examples of alliteration from the play:
- “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes” (Prologue) – The repetition of the “f” sound creates a smooth and flowing rhythm.
- “O brawling love! O loving hate!” (Act 1, Scene 1) – The repetition of the “o” and “l” sounds adds an emotional and dramatic tone.
- “Parting is such sweet sorrow” (Act 2, Scene 2) – The repetition of the “s” sound creates a soft and soothing effect.
- “What light through yonder window breaks?” (Act 2, Scene 2) – The repetition of the “w” sound gives a gentle and melodious quality to the sentence.
- “Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be” (Act 2, Scene 2) – The repetition of the “l” sound adds a striking and memorable quality to the line.
- “These violent delights have violent ends” (Act 2, Scene 6) – The repetition of the “v” and “d” sounds contributes to the sense of urgency and intensity in the statement.
Shakespeare’s skillful use of alliteration helps to enhance the poetic and theatrical nature of the play, making “Romeo and Juliet” a rich and memorable literary work.
Famous Alliteration Examples
The alliteration for Friday is “Friendly faces filled with Friday’s cheer.
The alliteration for sand is:
- Silky smooth sand
- Shimmering silver sand
- Soft, sun-kissed sand
- Sandy shorelines
- Serene sandy stretches
- Sparkling sea and sand
- Swaying palm trees on sandy soil
- Scattered seashells on the sand
- Sifting through the sandy beach
- Surrounded by golden grains of sand.
Alliteration for Snake
- Sly and slithering snake
- Sinister, silent snake
- Sneaky silver snake
- Striking serpent snake
- Swift and slippery snake
- Scaled and sinister snake
- Snapping, hissing snake
- Swaying through the shadows, a silent snake
- Startled by a sudden sighting of a sleek snake
- Sensing the scent, the snake stealthily slithers.
Alliteration in Anglo Saxons Literature
A prominent feature in the poetic traditions of various cultures, is alliteration, including during the Anglosaxon period. Anglo-Saxon poetry, which was composed and recited between the 5th and 11th centuries, made extensive use of alliteration as a fundamental element of its prosody.
In Anglo-Saxon poetry, alliteration involved the repetition of initial consonant sounds in stressed syllables of words within a line or across multiple lines. Here are some examples of alliteration from the Anglo-Saxon epic poem “Beowulf”:
- “Grendel’s grim grasp” – The repetition of the “g” sound.
- “From the fury of the sea” – The repetition of the “f” sound.
- “With wonder at the wealth of his words” – The repetition of the “w” sound.
Purpose of Alliteration in Anglosaxons Poetry
- Aesthetic appeal: It helped create a pleasing rhythm and musicality in oral recitation, making the poetry more engaging and easier to remember.
- Mnemonic device: Since the poetry was primarily recited and passed down orally, alliteration served as a memory aid for bards and storytellers to recall the lines accurately.
- Cultural preservation: Anglo-Saxon poetry often dealt with heroic themes, history, and cultural values, and the use of alliteration helped preserve and transmit these aspects of their society through generations.
Types of Alliteration
It is commonly used in poetry, prose, advertising slogans, and other forms of writing to create a pleasing and memorable rhythm. Here are some common types of alliteration:
This type involves the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. For example: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
In this type, the repetition of vowel sounds occurs in the stressed syllables of words. For example: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”
3. Initial Alliteration
This is the most common type, where words in a sentence or phrase have the same starting sound or letter. For example: “Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.”
4. Internal Alliteration
Here, the repeated sounds occur within the words of a phrase or sentence. For example: “The little kitten with mittens was smitten.”
5. Exact Alliteration
This occurs when the same sound is repeated exactly in successive words. For example: “Round and round the rugged rocks.”
6. Syllable Alliteration
This type involves repeating specific syllables within words, creating a rhythmic effect. For example: “Lonely lily lazily lay by the lake.”
Alliteration is a literary technique where words in a sentence or phrase start with the same consonant sound, lending rhythm and emphasis to the text. Writers use it to create memorable phrases and evoke a musical quality in their writing. To use alliteration effectively, choose a specific consonant sound, select relevant words, and maintain clarity while achieving the desired rhythmic effect. Remember that while alliteration can enhance your writing, balance is key – using it purposefully and sparingly will yield the best results.
Alliteration can take place in various forms of writing, including poetry, prose, speeches, advertising slogans, and even everyday language. It is not limited to any specific type of writing or context. Alliteration is often found in literature and poetry as a way to create rhythm, musicality, and emphasis. It can be used in headlines, book titles, marketing campaigns, and any situation where the repetition of consonant sounds can enhance the impact of the words being used.
William Shakespeare is one of the most famous playwrights known for using alliteration in his works. Throughout his plays and sonnets, Shakespeare employed alliteration to enhance the poetic and rhythmic qualities of his language. His use of alliteration helped create memorable lines and added to the overall musicality of his writing. While Shakespeare is not the only playwright to use it, his extensive use of this literary device has left a lasting impact on the English language and literature.
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