How do assonance and alliteration work in "The Lady of Shallot" Parts I and II by Alfred Lord Tennyson? 

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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There are many examples of assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, and alliteration, the repetition of consonant sounds, in "The Lady of Shallot" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Tennyson uses these literary devices in several ways. A typical example of alliteration occurs in the line:

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,

The alliteration of two initial consonants before the caesura in a four stress line evokes the sound of Anglo-Saxon strong stress alliterative verse, giving a sonic echo of the medieval atmosphere Tennyson is attempting to create.

For assonance, Tennyson often uses a long "i" sound, such as "silent isle" and "silent night" in the poem. This serves to slow the pace of the poem, emphasizes the languor and separation from the world of "getting and spending", and to a degree monotony, of the Lady's life.


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