Anglo Saxon Poetry Rhetorical Devices

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Last updated: November 28, 2019

Alliteration
The repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another. This action occurs most often at the beginning of words, as in “rough and ready”. But consonants within words sometimes do this also, as in “baby blue”. The echoes that this technique create can increase a poem’s rhythmic and musical effects and make it more memorable. It is a common feature of Anglo-Saxon poetry; in most lines, two or three of the four stressed syllables perform this sound.

Allusion
An indirect or passing reference to some event, person, place, or artistic work, the nature and relevance of which is not explained by the writer but relies on the reader’s familiarity with what is thus mentioned.

Caesura
A pause or break within a line of poetry, sometimes shown graphically and usually indicated by the natural ryhthm of the language – a characteristic of Anglo-Saxon poetry; it divides the four-beat line in half.

Canon
A Greek word that implies rule or law, and is used in literature as the source which regulates which selection of authors or works, would be considered important pieces of literature

Epic
A long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. Most include elements of myth, legend, folklore, and history.

Their tone is serious and their language grand.

Epic Hero
The central figure in a long narrative who possess larger -than-life qualities such as bravery, loyalty, and heroism.

Foil
A character who sets off another character by strong contrast. This contrast emphasizes the differences between two characters, bringing out the distinctive qualities in each.

Kenning
In Anglo-Saxon poetry, a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing, or event indirectly, like “whales’ home” for “the sea.”

Metaphor
A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things without using a connective word such as like, as, than, or resembles.

Assonance
Repeated vowel sounds in unrhymed, stressed syllables

Elegy
A poem mourning the loss of someone or something.

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