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Analysis

There’s more to a poem than meets the eye.

Sound: Alliteration

The title gives it away: sound is super important in this poem. Alliteration provides one of the major poetic devices in this poem that delivers the sound that accompanies the sense (or the meaning...

Sound: Parallelism

Parallelism is one way to talk about the way the couplets function in lines 5-14, which is the section where the speaker demonstrates how his theory of sound and sense works. The first line of the...

Movement: Dance

Did you notice all the images of movement in the poem? "Dance" is only referred to once, but it's important for helping us understand the idea of sound matching sense. This poem insists that moveme...

Movement: Echo

The poem also sounds and moves like an echo. Some of the sounds actually echo through the lines (like "Eccho" → "blows" → "flows"). The poem is also echo-like because each line is always a com...

Movement: Cadence

How fast or slow the line actually moves, or its cadence, is super important in connecting sound and sense in this poem. For example, the line moves slower when speaking about Ajax than when speaki...

Nature

Funny that the poem begins with the claim that great writing comes from art (a.k.a. hard work and practice), not chance (a.k.a. natural talent), but then most of the images are things in nature. Wh...

Classical Figures

There are three classical allusions in this short poem, which tells us that the classical writers are important to the speaker of this poem. In Pope's day, classical writes (meaning ancient Greek a...
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