What are the poetic devices present in the poem Macavity: The Mystery Cat? Explain with examples.
The main poetic devices present in the poem "Macavity: The Mystery Cat" are types of repetition, including anaphora and epistrophe. He also includes several allusions to Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
The principal poetic devices in "Macavity: The Mystery Cat" are various types of repetition, including anaphora and epistrophe. Above all, Macavity's name is repeated many times, particularly in the recurring line:
Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity
This allows various intricate feminine rhymes, such as "gravity" and "depravity." The rhymes in the poem are generally very ingenious, reflecting the ingenuity of the subject.
Apart from Macavity's name, various phrases are repeated to rhetorical effect, often in grammatical parallels. The hopelessness of trying to catch Macavity, for instance, is emphasized by the repetition of "you may" followed by the different places in which you might seek the master criminal, all to no avail, since, in another repeated phrase, it invariably turns out that "Macavity's not there."
A less obvious device, but one which will be apparent to aficionados of the Sherlock Holmes stories, is the frequent use of allusion throughout the poem. Macavity is based closely on Conan Doyle's description of Professor James Moriarty. The parallel is drawn in the third stanza, where the physical description of Macavity is closely based on Moriarty, even down to his tendency to sway his head from side to side like a snake. The names of the two criminals are similar, and the comparison is made very clear at the end of the poem, when Eliot applies to Macavity exactly the same description that Holmes uses for his nemesis: "the Napoleon of Crime."
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