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Poetry – Alliteration Essay

The first poem ‘Sonnet 130’ by William Shakespeare has a humorous view on the traditional ideas of beauty. The poem is a five duplet metre with the stressed sounds starting on the second word of each line. Each line has the same amount of stressed and unstressed patterns which is very common for sonnets to make it quick and easy to read. The five duplet pattern never mimics human speech in the way a four duplet pattern does.

The end of each alternating line has a distinct rhyming pattern which goes on throughout the poem. There is also an assonance pattern with each of these words. The first line ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’ shows use of a simile the same as most of the last line ‘I think my love as rare as…’ More use of similes could have been made in the following lines.

There is an example of weak alliteration in line eleven ‘I grant I never saw a goddess go’ There is a metaphor in line four when he talks about his mistress’ hair, saying they are ‘black wires’, this view today would be a completely different view from when the poem was written. In our modern time we think of electrical wires coming out of her head. Most of the poem gives negative connotations, the words ‘sun’, ‘red coral’, ‘perfume’ and ‘music’ provides beautiful images.

The denotations are her eyes do not shine like the bright sun, her breath ‘reeks’ unlike the smell of perfume and her voice is not pleasant to hear unlike music.

The second poem Philip Larkin’s ‘The Trees’ is a twelve line poem that seems to compare the life of a tree to human life. In each stanza the first and fourth line, the end word rhymes with one another along with the second and third last word also rhyming. There is a four duplet pattern with the stressed pattern on the second syllable of each line. Each of these words show a clear assonance pattern with the words ‘thresh’ and ‘afresh’ repeated three times, when spoken aloud almost sound like the wind rustling through the leaves of the tree.


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