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What are the poetic devices used in "A Character" by William Wordsworth?

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sahu | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 13, 2011 at 10:27 AM via web

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What are the poetic devices used in "A Character" by William Wordsworth?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM (Answer #2)

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You might want to focus on the way that Wordsworth uses personification to give life to a number of the attributes of humanity that he talks about. This is clearly one of the major poetic devices that is used in this poem. Note how this operates in the following stanza:

There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare 
Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there, 
There's virtue, the title it surely may claim, 
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name.

We can see that shame is personified and given life as being a figure or character that hardly knows of its own existence. Virtue likewise is personified as trying to be worthy of its own name. We can see therefore how Wordsworth uses personification in his description of the many faces of man, for the "so many strange contrasts" that are present in one man to bring life to the different characteristics and personalities that are present within us all.

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