Consonance Examples of Literary Pieces That Use This Device

The literary classics of the English language world are filled with many figures of speech that aim at making mere sentences, emotional verses which enhance the beauty of the lines written. There are many literary devices that poets and authors use in order to make their world reach somewhat of an exalted level.

Of all these, one literary device that you will see used in many poems is consonance. So, what is consonance? In simplistic terms, the repetition of consonant sounds of stressed syllables or important words at small intervals is known as consonance.

This literary device is used in such a manner that it usually appears somewhere near the end of a word. The easiest way to understand the concept of consonance is to study examples.

Consonance is often confused with assonance and alliteration. The confusion is understandable but there is quite a difference between the three literary techniques. While consonance is the repetition of a consonant sound, assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds.

Alliteration on the other hand is generally considered to be a special type of consonance, wherein the consonant sound at the beginning of each word is repeated every time.

Another type of consonance is known as sibilance which is the repetition of s or sh sounds. More often than not, the most common examples of consonance in literature are seen in poetry.

Examples of Consonance in Poetry

Ralegh has backed the maid to a tree

As Ireland is backed to England

And drives inland

Till all her strands are breathless.” – Ocean’s Love to Ireland by Seamus Heaney

Use of Consonants b and d.

“‘T was later when the summer went

Than when the cricket came,

And yet we knew that gentle clock

Meant nought but going home.”

‘T was sooner when the cricket went

Than when the winter came,

Yet that pathetic pendulum

Keeps esoteric time.” – Emily Dickinson

Here the literary device can be clearly seen in the use of the consonant m, repeatedly through the poem and the stress on the words that use the alphabet.

“Great, or good, or kind, or fair,

I will ne’er the more despair;

If she love me, this believe,

I will die ere she shall grieve;

If she slight me when I woo,

I can scorn and let her go;

For if she be not for me,

What care I for whom she be?” – Shall I Wasting in Despair by George Wither

Repetition of Consonants like r, d, and l to name a few.

“Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile

Whether Jew or Gentile, I rank top percentile,

Many styles, More powerful than gamma rays

My grammar pays, like Carlos Santana plays” – Zealots by Fugees

This hip-hop music genre of contemporary poetry harbors many examples of consonance. Here, there is a repetition of the sound ile, and ays.

These were some examples of Consonance. It will probably be easy to understand now whenever a literary piece is used,

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