As explain on Poets.org, anaphora refers to a rhetorical device used by many writers that involves the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines or clauses. This device is used to establish a parallel structure and driving rhythm in many works of prose, poetry and oration.Continue Reading
Several famous instances of anaphora are detailed on AnaphoraExamples.com. One of the most famous examples of anaphora is found in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. This speech, delivered in August 1963, repeats the phrase "I have a dream" at the beginning of several statements towards the end of the speech. The phrase "I have a dream" is repeated eight times in a row in Dr. King's speech. Another example of anaphora in this same speech is the repeated use of the phrase "Let freedom ring" at the end of the speech.
There are numerous other literary examples of anaphora. William Shakespeare was famous for employing anaphora in both his plays and his sonnets. Specifically, in Sonnet No. 66, ten of the fourteen lines begin with the word "and." Another example of anaphora is Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem "Tears, Idle Tears." In this poem, Tennyson concludes each stanza with the phrase "the days that are no more." Many critics claim that this example of anaphora is a particularly excellent example of using anaphora to increase the intensity of emotion in a piece of writing. There are many other examples of anaphora that can be found in literary works and speeches from J.D. Salinger's novel "The Catcher in the Rye" to W.S. Merwin's poem "Sire," and finally to Winston Churchill's speech to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940.Learn more about Literary Writing