Account for the significance of the main poetic devices used in the poem, Vanity.

The poem is written in stanzas of five lines each. There are however no regular end rhymes, though few Stanzas have instances of rhyme as in stanzas 1, 2,4,5 etc. These include, laughter in stanza one, ‘mouths’ stanza two, ‘deaf’ in stanza ‘4’ and ‘signs’ in stanza five. These rhymes create harmony in the poem. However the greatest poetic effect is achieved through repetition which runs through the entire stanzas of the poem. For instance in stanza one, it says:

“If we tell gently, gently – line 1

If we weep, gently, gently – line 27

These conditional statements elicit powerful feelings in the reader’s mind. More examples of repetition abound: “If we cry” “who” “what heart” “what ear” Others are, ‘when “in the air” “on the water” “where they traced their signs”. These repetitions create emphasis and thus heighten poetic effect.

Similarly, the existence of alliteration enhance the sound quality by creating melody within the lines: such include, “gently, gently”, “what…will watch”, “to their” “water where”, we weep” etc. Of significance also, is the recurrence of rhetorical questions, as in, “who indeed will hear them without laughter? What eyes will watch our large mouths? What ear to our sobbing hearts?

These rhetorical questions heights the reader’s expectation and anxiety and this (bates suspense There is also a good example of simile as in, “which grows in us like tumour”.  The comparison here is between our ancestor’s anger and tumour. In all, the diction is simple, suspense-filled and rhetorical.

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