Alliteration is the repetition of the sounds at the beginning of words. It is frequently used to add weight and strength to certain words and emphasize thoughts and feelings. The use of repeated fricative sounds can add a ticking sound to a text or imitate the sound of footsteps or something similar. When used effectively, it can be a great addition to a text. In Jonathan Edwards’ "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon, he uses alliteration to increase the severity of his message.
Early in the sermon, he speaks o God’s “Rule of righteousness”, emphasizing the “r” sounds in the words. This alliteration relates righteousness to the word “rule,” or God’s law.
Another example in the text is when Edwards speaks of Hell, saying “the pit is prepared.” The repetitive “p” sounds remind one of the popping of flames, emphasizing the eternal hellfire into which men may be cast.
Additionally, he alliterates when he says “to serve sin and Satan.” Edwards speaks of human morality and how futile it is, associating our good actions on Earth as service to Satan; he claims that they are full of sin. With the word “serve,” he relates our earthly deeds to the devil and sin itself, saying our actions are worthless.