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38 terms

Poetic Literary Devices

STUDY
PLAY
allusion
A reference to another work of literature, person, or event

Example:
Romeo refers to Cupid in the lines, "Alas that love, whose view is muffled still, / should without eyes see pathways to his will!" (169-70). Cupid is the Roman god of erotic love and is always portrayed as being blindfolded. Hence, we know that this reference to love with a "muffled" view, or blind view, is actually referring to Cupid.
anachronism
something or someone out of place in terms of historical or chronological context. Example: The Clock Strikes Nine
anaphora
The repetition of sound only at the beginnings of the words, A rhetorical figure of repetition in which the same word or phrase is repeated in (and usually at the beginning of) successive lines, clauses, or sentences.

What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man.
(4 repetitions of "nor')
apostrophe
Not to be confused with the punctuation mark, apostrophe is a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love.

Example:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?"

Juliet is unaware of Romeo's presence and his love for her
when she utters these words while both characters occupy the stage.
archaism
A word, expression, spelling, or phrase that is out of date in the common speech of an era, but still deliberately used by a writer, poet, or playwright for artistic purposes.

In Act 2 Scene 4, the Nurse says of Mercutio, "Scurvy knave! I am none of his flirt-gills; I am none of his skains-mates." Morrow = Day, prithee = I pray you, please, doth = does, nay = no
aside
A private conversation between two characters that no one else on stage hears or a character speaking aloud his thoughts that the other characters on stage does not hear.
ballad
A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain.
blank verse
unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse is the meter of most of Shakespeare's plays
caesura
A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line.
carpe diem
Means "seize the day"
couplet
a two-line stanza, usually with end-rhymes the same.
diction
described as formal discourse, informal, colloquial or slang language
elegy
a sustained and formal poem setting forth the poet's meditations upon death or another solemn theme.
epistrophe
Repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends of successive clauses
foil
A character who is in most ways opposite to the main character (protagonist) or one who is nearly the same as the protagonist. The purpose of the this character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by contrast only. Mercutio, the witty skeptic, does this for Romeo, the young Petrarchan lover. Mercutio mocks Romeo's vision of love and the poetic devices he uses to express his emotions
haiku
A Japanese form of poetry, consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables
iambic
( ~ / ) as in "return", A classification of a poem's meter when most (though certainly not all) of the feet are iambs. Iambic pentameter is the most natural meter for English poetry.
lyric
any short poem that presents a single speaker who expresses thoughts and feelings. The Speaker = The Poet
metaphor
a figurative use of language in which a comparison is expressed without the use of a comparative term like "as," "like," or "than." A simile would say, "night is like a black bat"; a metaphor would say, "the black bat night."
meter
the repetition of a regular rhythmic unit in a line of poetry. The meter of a poem emphasizes the musical quality of the language and often relates directly to the subject matter of the poem. Each unit of meter is known as a foot.
metonymy
a figure of speech which is characterized by the substitution of a term naming an object closely associated with the word in mind for the word itself. In this way we commonly speak of the king as the "crown," an object closely associated with kingship.
monologue
In books, poetry, and short stories, the readers overhear a conversation between the first-person narrator and someone else. We only hear the narrator's side of the story; we do not get to hear the response; or an extended part of the text of a play uttered by an actor. Example: Mercutio's Queen Mab Speech-
narrative (poem)
a non-dramatic poem which tells a story or presents a narrative, whether simple or complex, long or short; usually the speaker is distinct from the poet
onomatopoeia
the use of words whose sound suggests their meaning. Examples are "buzz," "hiss," or "honk."
oxymoron
conjoining contradictory terms such as: O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health
pentameter
When poetry consists of five feet in each line, it is written in pentameter. Each foot has a set number of syllables. Iambs are feet consisting of two syllables. Thus, iambic pentameter lines would have a total of ten syllables.
personification
a kind of metaphor that gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics.
pun (double entendre)
a word or expression that has two meanings, one of which can be dirty or vulgar. Comic relief. Example: "a mender of bad souls" (Bad spirit or worn shoes soles)
quatrain
a four-line stanza with any combination of rhymes.
reification
Giving an abstract concept a name and then treating it as though it were a concrete, tangible object.
repetition
Repeated use of sounds, words, or ideas for effect and emphasis
rhyme
Repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them in words that are close together in a poem.
rhythm
A musical quality produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables (meter) or by the repetition of words and phrases or even whole lines or sentence
simile
An Indirect comparison signaled by "like" or "as."
soliloquy
Character alone on stage speaking his thoughts aloud (for the audiance's or readers benefit)
sonnet
normally a fourteen-line iambic pentameter poem. The English, or Shakespearean, sonnet is rhymed abab, cdcd, efef, gg.
stanza
usually a repeated grouping of four or more lines with the same meter and rhyme scheme.
synesthesia
seems contradictory, but isn't less isn't more, describing one kind of sensation in terms of another ("a loud color", "a sweet sound")