The Frog and the Nightingale

by Vikram Seth

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What figures of speech are used in "The Frog and the Nightingale?"

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Vikram Seth's poem, "The Frog and the Nightingale," has many different figures of speech (or literary devices) within its lines. The first stanza of the poem is seen below (with the literary device and definition provided within the parentheses.) The part of the poem the literary device examples are bolded.

Once upon a time a frog

(Assonance- repetition of a vowel sound within a line of poetry. Here, the "a" is repeated.)

Croaked away in Bingle Bog

(Alliteration- repetition of a consonant sound within a line of poetry. Here, the "b" sound is repeated.)

Every night from dusk to dawn

(Alliteration again; the "d" sound is repeated.)

He croaked awn and awn and awn

(Assonance again; the "a" sound is repeated. Also, repetition is used (as seen with the word "awn" being used three times within the line)). 

Other creatures loathed his voice,

(Personification- the giving of human characteristics to nonliving/nonhuman things. Here, the other creatures loathe the frog. Loathing is an emotion allotted to humans, not animals.)

But, alas, they had no choice,

(Personification again; "they" (the creatures) cannot choose to loathe something or not.)

And the crass cacophony

(Alliterations again; the "c" sound is repeated.

Blared out from the sumac tree

(No literary device.)

At whose foot the frog each night

(Alliteration again, the "f" sound is repeated.)

Minstrelled on till morning night

(Alliteration again, the "m" sound is repeated.)

Personification is seen throughout the rest of the poem where the frog and the nightingale are given the ability to speak to each other. Personification is also seen when the emotions of the animals is mentioned.

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