Edmund Spenser

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What are three figures of speech in Spenser's "Sonnet 75"?

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There are many examples of figures of speech in Edmund Spenser's "Sonnet 75," including alliteration, personification, and hyperbole. Throughout the poem, Spenser demonstrates repetition of letters and sounds. He personifies the tide and waves by allowing them to speak and engage in other human behavior, such as preying upon pain. Spenser uses exaggeration in the concluding lines of the poem to demonstrate the power of the love shared between him and his partner.

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Edmund Spenser employs many figures of speech in "Sonnet 75."

Alliteration is a figure of speech in which a letter or sound is repeated. In the second line, Spenser alliterates the W sound: "waves and washed it away." In the fourth line, the P sound is repeated: "paynes his pray." In the ninth and tenth lines, the D sound is repeated with the use of the words "devize," "dy," and "dust." Spenser continues in this manner, repeating the V sound in the next line: "My verse, your ventures." In the poem's concluding couplet, Spenser alliterates the W and L sounds: "Where whenas death shall all the world subdew / Our love shall live, and later life renew."

Personification is a figure of speech in which human-like characteristics are assigned to things, ideas, or animals. We see examples of this in the first and second stanzas of "Sonnet 75." In the second and fourth lines, the waves and tide are personified. The waves wash away the poet's words. The tide is referred to as "he" and it preys upon the poet's pain by washing away his words once again. In the second stanza, the waves speak to the poem's author: "'Vayne man', said she, 'that doest in vain assay.'" Spenser refers to the waves as "she" and further personifies them by endowing them with the human ability of speech.

Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which something is overstated or greatly exaggerated. An example of this can be seen in the poem's penultimate line. Spenser writes, "Where whenas death shall all the world subdew." The poet is trying to say that the love shared between him and his beloved will live on after their deaths. Instead of saying this, the poet says their love shall endure even after death overtakes the entire world. This hyperbole is meant to demonstrate how powerful the love between the poet and his partner is.

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