Examples of Assonance in Literature

Assonance

The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together is called assonance. The sound doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the word. Sometimes assonance is used to achieve a particular effect of euphony. It is called ‘vocalic rhyme’.

It was first known use in 1727.

Common Examples of Assonance:

  1. Chew gum and have fun
  2. Noise of boys
  3. Girls are curling hairs
  4. No pain no gain
  5. Do good have good
  6. Round and round

Examples of Assonance in Literature

1. In “Hamlet” by Shakespeare

Doubt thou the stars are fire
Doubt that the sun doth move
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.

Hamlet’s love letter to Ophelia is his way of telling her to never doubt his love, even if she doubts everything else like stars which are made of fire, sun has stopped moving and even she can doubt upon speaking someone truth but never doubt upon the love of him.     

2.  In “Dr. Faustus” by Marlow

Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars!

At the end of the line, the assonance of “air” and “stars” imparts a controlled unity to the lines. “Marlow” is praising the black magic a good and sublime thing than the beauty and feel of the evening air and in the next line, he praises the lips of Helen.

3.  In “To Autumn” by John Keats

“Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the rive sallows, born aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies’
In the above lines, ‘o’ and ‘i’ are repeated.

4.  In “Of Studies” by Bacon

“Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.”

Here ‘i’ and ‘a’ are repeated. Repetition of “for” is a case of rhyme assonance, like alliteration is used for musical effects.

5.  In “A little East of Jordan” by Emily Dickinson

Till morning touching mountain
An Jacob, waxing strong,
The Angel begged permission
To Breakfast – to return-
In the above lines, ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’ and ‘o’ are assonance words.

Further Reading

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