Definition & Examples of Assonance in Poetry

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When we think of poetry, we think of rhyme which basically a poem consists of, but a good poem is more complex as it involves the use of some poetic stuff like poetic devices that creates a great harmony between the words and sentences of a poem, making it sound more pleasurable and compelling.

One of the prominent and frequently used poetic devices is ”Assonance”, which can be found in works of prominent poets like John Keats, Edgar Allan Poe, William Wordsworth, and even William Shakespeare‘s sonnets and plays.

Related: A Huge List of Poetry Themes

What is Assonance in Poetry?

Assonance is a poetic device that takes place in poetry when there is a repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds between syllables of nearby words (in the same line of a poem), especially in a stressed syllable.

Ex- ”Seen” and ”Beat”, as you can see from the example where the vowel sounds ”ee” in ”seen” and ”ea” in ”beat” give a similar sound when pronounced.

Related- Examples of Meter in Poetry

examples of assonance in poetry
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Other Prominent Poetic Sound Devices

  • Consonance- It is the repetition of the same consonant sound (often at the end of the word) in a line of poetry, and is generally termed consonance in American English.

For example- ”Cold” and ”Killed

  • Alliteration- It is the repetition of a similar consonant sound at the beginning of a word in a sequence of nearby words.

For example- Fair is foul, and foul is fair ( Macbeth).

  • Rhyme- ”Rhyme” is a poetic device but is also defined as a special case of assonance where the ending of words with vowel sound in the last syllable is identical.

For example- ”History” and ”Mystery, as you can see both last vowel syllables ”ory” and ”ery” sound the same as ”ery” when pronounced which creates a rhyme between the words.

An example of assonance from William Shakespeare’s popular play ”Romeo and Juliet”.

Examples of Assonance in Poetry

Example #1- Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

Thou still unravished bride of quietness,

Thou foster child of silence and slow time.

The repeated vowel ”I” sound in these lines from Keat’s poem Ode on a Grecian Urn are creating assonance in the poem.

Example #2- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore

While I nodded nearly napping suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

In these lines from Poe’s poem, The Raven, the repeated eavowel sound in the first line, the repeated ”u” vowel sound in the second and the repeated ”a” vowel sound in the third and fourth lines are creating assonance in these lines of the poem.

Example #3- Sonnet 1 by William Shakespeare

His tender heir might bear his memory

In this line from Sonnet 1 by Shakespeare, the repeated similare vowel sound is creating assonance in the line of the sonnet.

Example #4- Holy Sonnet 3 by John Donne

O might those sighs and tears returns again

The repeated i vowel sound in this line from Holy Sonnet 3 by Donne is creating assonance.

Example #5- I wondered lonely as a cloud by William Wordsworth

I wondered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er values and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

In this stanza from Wordsworth’s poem, the repeated o vowel sound in the first second & fourth lines and then the repeated similar vowel sound of ee is creating assonance.

assonance in poetry definition and examples

Example #6- The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks

You will never neglect or beat

Them or silence or buy with a sweet

In these two lines from Brooks’ poem, The Mother, the repeated e vowel sound and similar vowel sounds of i and u is creating assonance in the

Example #7- Frost at Midnight by S.T Coleridge

Have left me to that solitude which suits Abstruser musings

In this line from Coleridge’s poem, Frost at Midnight, the repeated u vowel sound is creating assonance.

Example #8- The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forest of the night

The repeated y and i similar vowel sounds is creating assonance in these two lines from Blake’s poem The Tyger

Example #9- Bells by Edgar Allan Poe

Hear the mellow wedding bells,

Golden bells!

What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!

In these three lines from Poe’s poem, Bells, the repeated e vowel sound is creating assonance.

Example #10- Daddy by Sylvia Plath

I was ten when they buried you.

In this line from Plath’s poem, Daddy the repeated e vowel sound is creating assonance.

Read more examples of assonance in poetry, here

Neel Rana

About the Author- Neel Rana is a young adult fiction writer and children’s book author. He is a literary enthusiast and the founder of Pandora Post. Neel holds a degree in BA Honors in English Literature and has been writing since 2017. His magnum opus YA short storybook, “The Drunken Ghost” has been well received by the readers.