What are the literary techniques used in the poem "The Soldier"?

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Brooke's "The Soldier" is written in sonnet form, meaning that it utilizes many literary techniques typical of this type of poetry. The lines are written in iambic pentameter, meaning that each has five feet, or five emphasized beats. You will understand this better if you read each line aloud, counting...

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Brooke's "The Soldier" is written in sonnet form, meaning that it utilizes many literary techniques typical of this type of poetry. The lines are written in iambic pentameter, meaning that each has five feet, or five emphasized beats. You will understand this better if you read each line aloud, counting out the places where you would naturally add emphasis when speaking. Brooke also uses a sonnet rhyme scheme, but, interestingly, he varies this rhyme scheme between the first eight lines (the ostet) and the second six (the sestet). In the first eight lines of the sonnet, Brooke uses the Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme, ababcdcd. In the closing six lines, he uses a Petrarchan rhyme scheme, efgefg.

The key concept in Brooke's poem is the personification of England, imagined as a mother who "bore, shaped, [and] made aware" all these young men who are now heading off to die for their country. Brooke uses repetition to emphasize England as the reason for which the young men fight: the word "England" is repeated four times, and "English" is repeated twice.

We can also detect the use of alliteration, particularly in the first octet, in which Brooke alliterates on "th": "think," "this," "that," "there," etc.

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Rupert Brooke’s poem, “The Soldier” is a sonnet, which means it contains fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. In iambic pentameter, each line contains ten syllables with a unstressed syllable, stressed syllable pattern. The first stanza contains eight lines that follow the abab cdcd rhyming pattern. The second stanza has six lines with an abc abc rhyming pattern. Another characteristic of a sonnet is that it contains a turning point called a volta. In “The Soldier,” the volta occurs as the reader moves from the first stanza to the second. The first stanza speaks of impending death while the second speaks of death.

Another literary device used in the poem is personification. The narrator personifies England using verbs that describe what England did such as bore, shaped, made aware, and gave. The author creates visual imagery describing the English countryside that he says will exist wherever the soldier dies; there will be a piece of “English heaven.”

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