What is Assonance?
Assonance refers to the effect when the sound of a vowel is repeated in the same sentence using words that are placed close to each other. Assonance is commonly used in poetry to add emphasis on a particular subject or simply to add flare.
The English language has more than enough rules in terms of usage and/or grammar. English poetry is not an easy thing to handle either. To understand assonance better, one must learn the other terms related to it.
First there is “alliteration” – this refers to repetition of a sound in poetry, prose, or basic text. The purpose for repeating the sounds is to add more rhythm to the sentences. Either the consonant or the vowel is repeated in alliterations. Repeating the consonant sound is called “consonance” while repeating the vowel sound is called “assonance”.
Consonance is said to be easier to spot in poems, because usually the first letters are the ones repeated, and these first letters are commonly consonants. Assonance meanwhile appears on poems in a more subtle way, making them not too obvious to the reader. A writer or poet may opt for a single vowel sound to repeat in one sentence. But there are also others that allow two or more vowel sounds to repeat in a single sentence. Many advise though not to overdo making assonant words or sounds. Besides the tongue-twisting possibilities of words with repeating sounds, the whole idea of the sentence or the entire poem may be lost due to the unnecessary stress on some words or sounds.
Poetry pieces feature a lot of assonant words or sounds, as writers try to make words and phrases rhyme. Assonance differs from the basic rhyme though. It involves the same sound for the vowel and end-consonant while the first consonant differs.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of many famous poets who mastered the art of alliteration, consonance, and assonance. In his poem “The Raven”, these three literary devices were used extensively.