Literary Devices

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Literary, Rhetorical, and Poetic Devices

Allegory -A representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form and can often be an extended metaphor for a specific historical or political event.

i.e. George Orwell’s animal farm is an allegory of the Russian revolution and the implementation of Joseph Stalin’s Communist regime. Alliteration - the repetition of the initial consonant. There should be at least two repetitions in a row. i.e. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Allusion – A reference to a famous person or event in life or literature. i.e. Pyramus and Thisbe, the play-within-a-play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is an allusion to the classical Greek play of the same name. Assonance - the repetition of similar vowel sounds in a sentence. i.e. And murmuring of innumerable bees

Connotation - The set of associations implied by a word in addition to its literal meaning.

i.e. A snake is a reptile, but it can also mean someone who is untrustworthy and sly.

Consonance - The repetition of consonant sounds in a short sequence of words.

i.e Save the best for last.

Dramatic irony - irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play. i.e: In Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet drinks the sleeping potion and falls asleep. While she is sleeping, Romeo walks into the tomb, sees Juliet sleeping, and presumes her to really be dead. The audience knows she has just taken the potion, but in the play, Romeo does not know this.

End Rhyme - A rhyme in the final syllable(s) of a verse.

i.e And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.

Extended Metaphor -A metaphor which is drawn out beyond the usual word or phrase to extend throughout a stanza or an entire poem, usually by using multiple comparisons between the unlike objects or ideas. i.e in...
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