Writers create and develop tone through the use of diction. When considering written expression, diction refers to a writer’s word choice. Tone itself refers to the writer’s attitude toward his subject. Accomplished poets such as Lord Byron carefully consider every single word they write: Is it appropriate for the context? Does it communicate the intended idea better than every other possible word? Will the intended audience understand the word in the way it is intended?
Diction is so important to a poet that we can actually answer this question by only looking at a single word. In Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” the tone is evident immediately. Look at the verb Byron decides to use in his title: “walks. ” He could have made other word choices, such as “lives” or “exists.” But the word “walks” carries a different shade of meaning. As a more active verb, it implies that she is more than just physically beautiful: she actually acts in a way that demonstrates beauty. The things she does, says, believes, values, and loves are all a part of that beauty.
Byron then goes on to use a series of words that accentuate the subject's beauty: cloudless, starry, mellowed, tender, grace, softly, serenely, sweet, dear, pure, soft, calm, eloquent, smiles, glow, goodness, peace, heart, love, innocent.