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Figures of speech, or figurative language, are types of language that are not meant to be taken literally. Here are some examples from Poe’s poem, “The Sleeper.” Poe uses figurative language to great effect, to make the poem sad and creepy.
Metaphor is a direct comparison between two unlike things, where you describe something as something else.
“mystic moon” line 2 (also alliteration) compares the moon to a mystic, or fortune teller.
Simile compares two unlike things using “like” or “as” in the comparison.
“Looking like Lethe,” in line 13 comparison to the lake to a river in Greek mythology.
“Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!” in line 29 is another example, but the same comparison is a metaphor in line 45. “While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!”.
Hyperbole is exagerration. In lines 4-5 “An opiate vapour, dewy, dim,/ Exhales from out her golden rim,” is exaggeration, since the moonlit air is not really an opiate.
Personification is when you describe something like you would a person, with human traits.
“The rosemary nods upon the grave” in line 9 describes the rosemary like a person.
“Wrapping the fog about its breast” in line 11 is another example of human description.
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