Essay on Figures of Speech in Poetry

Essay on Figures of Speech in Poetry

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"The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor." [It is] "a sign of real genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars." Aristotle in Poetics.

Poetry is language that says more than ordinary language. It uses figures of speech. Each figure of speech may suggest several meanings with minimal words. It uses words with strong connotations and these words appeal to the reader's emotions. The language in poetry is strong. The Oxford English Dictionary defines figure of speech as "a word or phrase used in a non-literal sense for rhetorical or vivid effect." Figures of speech add interest and meaning to the way a person speaks. It is a variation from the ordinary fashion of expression for the sake of effect. We need to understand these figures of speech to understand the theme of the poem. Most figures of speech cast up a mental image to help the reader communicate more than what is actually said.

In discussing the following three poems the reader must understand metaphors, a form of figurative language. A metaphor is a comparison made by referring to one thing as another, thereby suggesting a likeness or analogy between them by way of transference. Poetry is a challenge because metaphors are central to writing and analyzing poetry. Metaphors also make the reader actively participate in the work. They are what gives poetry its power to appeal to the reader. They also allow the poet to speak directly about something by relating it to something else. By writing an idea this way the reader has a better chance at relating to the poet and the poet can make the piece seem more alive. Therefore, helping the reader to better understand the central theme of the poe...


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... nothing to the things that hold her down in life but she is still "loosely bound by countless silken ties of love and thought." It is in the "capriciousness of summer air is of the slightest bondage made aware." In other words, it is when the sudden changes in life happen that she is aware of the responsibilities that hold her here.

In conclusion, it is fair to say that figures of speech are important to the reader and to the poet. Metaphors give maximum meaning in minimal words. They help to create new meanings, they allow one to write about feelings, thoughts, experiences, etc. for which there are no easy words; they are necessary. Once a metaphor is understood by its literal and figurative meaning, the theme is continuously developed throughout the poem by sets of carefully chosen words that identify the poet's theme and attitude or feeling about it.

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