Thomas Love Peacock

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What literary devices are used in Thomas Love Peacock's poem "Maria's Return"?

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One literary device Peacock uses in this poem is a rhyme scheme. Each stanza is six lines long, consisting of rhyming couplets in the first two lines and in lines four and five. Lines three and six also rhyme. For example, in the first stanza, the words "ground" and "bound" rhyme in the first two lines, while line three's "falling" rhymes with line six's "appalling."

The poem also employs images, which are descriptions that use the five senses. In the first stanza, for example, the poet uses sight images, to conjure the picture of the falling snow, and sound images, to convey the sound of wind whistling: "snow is swiftly falling," the speaker says, and "coldly blows the northern breeze, / And whistles through the leafless trees."

In the lines quotes above, the poem also uses alliteration, which is starting words in the same line with the same consonant, in order to create a sense of rhythm. "Snow" and "swiftly" begin with the letter "s," while "blows" and "breeze" begin with "b."

The narrator, a young woman jilted by her lover, Henry, speaks in a way that personifies death as if it were a human. She refers to "Death's icy dart" as if Death were a person throwing a weapon at her to kill her.

Finally, the bleak wintry imagery of snow and cold becomes a symbol of the desolation and coldness the narrator experiences because of her rejection by her lover. Her heart is like the barren landscape. She writes, "My very heart-blood freezes!"

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