Rhetorical Devices

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Rhetorical Devices
Style is part of classical rhetoric and a number of rhetorical devices are worth considering in any analysis of style. For the analysis of literature a knowledge of rhetorical devices is indispensable, since there is often a considerable density of rhetorical figures and tropes which are important generators and qualifiers of meaning and effect. This is particularly the case in poetry. Especially the analysis of the use of imagery is important for any kind of literary text. (For further details see Analysing a Metaphor and Symbol). Figures of speech in classical rhetoric were defined as “a form of speech artfully varied from common usage” (Quintilian, Inst. Orat. IX.i.2). The forms of figurative languages are divided into two main groups: schemes (or figures) and tropes. Rhetorical schemes describe the arrangement of individual sounds (phonological schemes), the arrangement of words (morphological schemes), and sentence structure (syntactical schemes). Rhetorical tropes are devices of figurative language. They represent a deviation from the common or main significance of a word or phrase (semantic figures) or include specific appeals to the audience (pragmatic figures). The following definitions are mainly based on:

Abrams 1988, Corbett 1971, Holman/Harmon 1992, Preminger 1993, Jahn 2002 Link, Scaif 2002 Link. Schemes: Phoneme-level (level of individual sounds)
|alliteration |the same sound is repeated at the beginning of several words or in stressed syllables of words that| | |are in close proximity | | |Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell (T.S. Eliot, Book of Practical Cats) | | |Moping melancholy mad (Housman, Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff) | | |Dombey and Son had often dealt in hides but not in hearts. They left that fancy war to boys and | | |girls, and boarding-schools and books. (Dickens, Dombey and Son) | |assonance |the same or similar vowel sounds are repeated in the stressed syllables of words that are in close | | |proximity while the consonants differ | | |Breathing like one that hath a weary dream (Tennyson, The Lotos-Eaters) | | |Gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss and thunder (Pope, Imitations of Horace) | |consonance |two or more consonants are repeated, but the adjacent vowels differ | | |Friend/frowned | | |killed/cold, | | |horse/hearse | |onomatopoeia |the sound of the word imitates the sound of the thing which that word denotes | | |clatter, bash, bang, rumble, sniff, howl, etc. | | |[…] aspens quiver | | |Little breezes dusk and shiver | | |(Tennyson, Lady of Shalott - imitates the sound of the breeze in the leaves) | | |Hear the loud alarum bells –...
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