What Are Examples of Assonance in The Raven?

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Assonance occurs in the poem ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allen Poe in several lines, including “while I pondered weak and weary.” Assonance is the repetition of vowels (a, e, I, o, u and sometimes y) in poems; in the passage cited, the repetition of the vowels “ea” in the words “weak” and “weary” is assonance. In addition to repetition in vowels, assonance also consists of repetition in sounds, such as long vowel sounds or short sounds.

Assonance describes certain traits and characteristics of poems, as do other literary tools such as consonance and alliteration. Alliteration is similar to assonance, but refers to similar sounds found at the beginning of words, while assonance describes rhymes and patterns found in all parts of words. Examples of alliteration include the repetition of the consonants and their sounds in words such as “twinkling, twilight and twin”; in these words, the consonants “tw” form the same sound. Consonance refers to the repetition of consonants in poems, and like assonance, occurs throughout all parts of words and sentences. In addition to “weak” and “weary,” assonance occurs in The Raven in the line “over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.” In that passage, the vowel “o” repeats in “over” “forgotten” and “lore,” giving a long vowel sound.