Alliteration: Initial consonant sounds are repeated at the beginning of words. Example: Macbeth: “life’s f



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Poetic Terms & Devices

Please fill in the blanks for the following definitions and examples:


  1. Alliteration: Initial consonant sounds are repeated at the beginning of words.

Example: Macbeth: “life’s fitful fever.”
Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Allusion:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Example: “I was surprised his nose was not growing like Pinocchio’s.” This refers to the story of Pinocchio, where his nose grew whenever he told a lie.


  1. Anachronism: An event, object or person that is out of its natural order in time.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Antithesis: Sharply opposing ideas are balanced against each other in grammatically parallel syntax.

Example: More light and light it grows / More dark and dark our woes.


  1. Apostrophe: Addressing a person or personified abstraction as though it were present.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Archetype: A pattern or model of action, character, imagery, or theme that recurs consistently enough in literature to be universal.

Example: The Hero: He or she is a character who predominantly exhibits goodness and struggles against evil in order to restore harmony and justice to society, e.g. Beowulf or Hercules.


  1. Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Ballad: A simple narrative poem recounting a specific episode, usually with a song-like chorus or refrain. Originally designed to be sung or recited.



  1. Blank Verse: Unrhymed iambic pentameter

Example: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?



  1. Caricature: __________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


Example: “Mr. Chadband is a large yellow man, with a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system. Mr. Chadband moves softly and cumbrously, not unlike a bear who has been taught to walk upright. He is very much embarrassed about the arms, as if they were inconvenient to him.”


  1. Conceit: An elaborate, extended, and fanciful comparison of two very different things.

Example: Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs, rising above our hearts.


  1. Connotation: All the associations and ideas that come to mind with a particular idea or word: they are subjective (different for everyone). Compare to denotation.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Consonance: The close repetition of identical consonant sounds in the middle or ends of words.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Couplet:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Example: "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;

And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind." - William Shakespeare




  1. Denotation: A word’s literal, dictionary definition. Compare to connotation.




  1. Diction: The choice of words. Levels of diction are suited for different occasions/genres. Example: formal, informal, colloquial.




  1. Didactic:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



  1. Dissonance: Harsh or jarring sounds or rhythmical patterns. Same as cacophony.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Dramatic Monologue:_____________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example: In Romeo and Juliet, as Romeo is hiding in the Capulet garden, waiting for a glimpse of his new love, Juliet steps out onto the balcony. Romeo then reveals his thoughts to the audience through a monologue.


  1. Elegy: A lyrical poem of sorrow or mourning for the dead; also, a reflective poem in a solemn or sorrowful mood.

Example: Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”


  1. Epic: A long narrative poem in a lofty style dealing with heroic characters.

Example: Milton’s Paradise Lost or Beowulf.


  1. Epitaph: ___________________________________________________________




  1. Eulogy: A formal composition or speech in high praise of someone or something.




  1. Euphony: Sounds or rhythmical patterns that are pleasing to the ear: Opposite of dissonance

Example: A trill of silver laughter spoke.


  1. Fable: _______________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Example: Aesop’s Fable The Lion and the Mouse


  1. Free verse: A poem with irregular meter, no rhyme scheme, and no set length of lines.




  1. Hyperbole: A deliberate exaggeration for emphasis or humour.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



  1. Lyric: A poem expressing the thoughts and opinions of a single speaker. Its distinguishing characteristics are emotion, subjectivity, imagination, and description.




  1. Metaphor: A direct comparison of dissimilar objects or ideas without using “like” or “as”.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Metonymy: The name of a related object is substituted for the subject at hand. Compare to synecdoche.


Examples: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Narrative: Poetry that tells a story, featuring elements of plot and character.




  1. Ode: a long and elaborate lyric poem, often dignified or formal in tone, written to praise someone of something, or to mark an important occasion.




  1. Onomatopoeia: The use of words that imitate the sounds they represent.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Oxymoron: Two contradictory words or phrases are combined in a single expression.


Examples: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Paradox: A statement or idea that at first glace appears illogical, but reveals some truth.


Examples: _____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Pastoral: Poetry that concerns life in the country, meadows, forests, etc




  1. Pathetic Fallacy: Nature or setting details reflect the mood or events in a poem.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Pathos: The quality in a work of art or literature that arouses feelings of pity, sorrow or sympathy in the reader or viewer.




  1. Personification: Inanimate objects, animals or abstract ideas are endowed with human qualities.


Examples: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Pun: Word play involving a) A word with two different meanings; b) Homonyms.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Quatrain: A stanza of four lines.




  1. Refrain: A line or lines repeated at intervals during a poem, usually at the end of each stanza.




  1. Rhetoric: The art of persuasion (by way of diction, register, phrasing, etc), in speaking or writing.




  1. Satire: Ridicule meant to expose the folly, vice or shortcomings of others through the use of humour.




  1. Simile: A comparison of dissimilar objects using “like”, “as”, or “than”


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Sonnet: Lyric poem of fourteen lines and a regular rhyme scheme.

      1. Petrarchan Sonnet: The first eight lines are called the OCTAVE, while the final six are called the SESTET. Rhyme scheme is abba abba cdecde.

      2. Shakespearean Sonnet: Written in iambic pentameter and finishing with a rhyming couplet. Rhyme scheme of : abab cdcd efef gg.




  1. Synecdoche (Sin-neck-dough-key): The name of a part of an object is substituted for the whole object. Compare to metonymy.


Example: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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