The poem, "Snakecharmer", is a poem that conveys an underlying theme of power and control, as represented by the snakecharmer, through the nature of the snakes and their relationship with the snakecharmer.
There is no consistent rhyme scheme to the poem, and almost all the stanzas in the poem have run-on lines to the following stanza. The effect these create is a general atmosphere of inconsistency and disorder. The run-on lines also place an emphasis upon the last word of the stanza and the first word of the following, helping the poet impress upon the reader the significance of words such as "river", "tongues", "snakes", "shapes" and "rules". The atmosphere of inconsistency and disorder that is created can also be linked to the free, uncontrollable movement of the snakes.
The poet also uses repetition of the word snake to impress upon the reader the fact that snakes are all there is in this world, a hypnotic effect that brings clearly to the reader the image of a "world of snakes". The sibilance of the words Plath chooses to use creates an indistinctly ominous effect that is lazy and almost hypnotic to the reader. The sibilant "s" is present at least once in every line of the poem, exaggerating that effect, which is very much like the movement of a snake holding its prey in thrall before the kill. Thus the atmosphere of disorder and inconsistency is threaded with an indistinct sense of foreboding for the reader.
In the first stanza, the "snakecharmer" is generalized as he is juxtaposed with "gods" and "man". The grand style of the first line is continued through to the second as the charming of snakes is likened to the beginning of worlds; "begins a snaky sphere". Here the reader is made aware of the amount of power the snakecharmer possesses in his control over the snakes. The grand style abovementioned gives a sense of grandeur to the snakecharmer, and the tone of this stanza is subtly respectful towards him. In the last line of the stanza, the...
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