What were some literary devices in Canto VIII of Dante's Inferno?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Literary devices are the collected elements and techniques with which an author communicates meaning through the written word. One category of literary devices is literary elements. These are components that are universal to all literary fiction and narrative and include things like theme, conflict, point of view, etc. the other category of literary device is literary techniques. Though literary techniques are universally used, they are not universally present in each and every work of fiction or narrative. This is because the author carefully chooses which literary techniques to utilize in order to create the most effective communication of meaning for any specific work. Literary techniques relate to single words, phrases, groups of words or groups of phrases. Some examples of literary techniques are allegory, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc.

In Canto VIII of Dante's Inferno, some literary devices that are present are: the literary element conflict ("These our adversaries closed the gates on the breast of my Lord...I shall win the strife, whoever circle round within..."); symbolism ("So sweet the Father..."); allegory ("comfort thy dejected spirit and feed on good hope, for I will not leave thee in the nether world."); visual imagery ("clasped my neck, kissed my face,..."); word plays ("running through the dead channel..."); and alliteration ("deep ditches that encompass that disconsolate...").

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