Consonance

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Languages that don’t have as many rhymes often depend on other poetic methods to create consistency and internal rhythm. Consonance has played a major part in the making of literature in many languages. Consonance, hence, is used frequently in poetry and drama as a method to add harmony and rhythm. Consonance can also be found in prose, but it is not as common or evident of a procedure as in poetry. For example, the words fickle, chuckle and kick are consonant with each other due to the survival of common interior consonant sounds (/ck/). It is classified as a literary term used in both poetry as well as prose.

Further, the use of the device makes the structure of poetry or prose interesting for the reader. The poet generally makes use of consonance in an effort to emphasize the emotions behind their words that simple words cannot convey. 


Consonance Definition

Consonance is a literary device which involves the recurrence of consonant sound within a word, sentence, or phrase. The repeated sound can seem anywhere in the words, that are in close proximity. This recurrence often takes place in quick sequence such as in pitter, patter. The use of consonance is essentially greater in poetry writing than its use in the prose form. The most important use of consonance is that it provides the format of poetry with a rhyming effect. The use of consonance adds a lyrical feeling to the poetry that otherwise cannot be added. The writer normally utilizes the tool of consonance for the view of restate in contrast the significance of an idea or theme. Often, consonance is used to create a rhyme or cadence.

Consonance refers to repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase.
Consonance is commonly working in a range of situations alternating from poetry to prose writing. Consonance is a poetic device categorized by the repetition of the same consonant two or more times in short succession, as in "all mammals named Sam are clammy". The literary device of consonance is integrally different from assonance which refers to the reiteration of vowel sounds in immediate succession. Additionally, the device of consonance needs to be well-known from alliteration. In contrast to alliteration, consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds only.

Furthermore, the consequence of the use of consonance in poetry is improved normally improves by the fact that it is often used to make the imagery employed clearer. It acts as a tool that enables the poet to formulate a fine and powerful structure for his poetry and create a background for the themes underlying the poetry. 

Consonance Examples

Many common phrases, idioms, and tongue twisters as well as famous speeches contain examples of consonance:
  • Norm, the worm, took the garden by a storm this morn.
  • The ship has sailed to the far off shores.
  • Shelley sells shells by the seashore.
  • Her foot left a print on the carpet
  • He struck a streak of bad luck.
  • The black sack is in the back.
  • Odds and ends
  • It will creep and beep while you sleep.
  • All’s well that ends well.
  • The early bird gets the worm.
  • She ate seven sandwiches on a sunny Sunday last year.
  • Pitter Patter
  • She sometimes sells sandwiches on the Swiss coast.
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • I will crawl away the ball.
  • Curiosity killed the cat.
  • A blessing in disguise.
  • Glass boss. 
  • Slither slather. 
  • The lint was sent with the tent
  • I think I like the pink kite
  • I held my nose in the breeze so I would not sneeze on your knees.
Consonance can be identified easily with the help of examples in pairs such as:
  • Blank and think
  • Odds and ends
  • Cheer and beer
  • Slither and slather
  • Short and sweet
  • Spelled and scald
  • First and Last
  • Dawn goes down
  • Sent and went
  • Pitter-patter
  • Far and jar
  • Borrow and sorrow
  • Litter and batter
  • Struts and Frets
  • Strong and swing
  • Hard and ward
  • Laughed and deft

Consonance in Poetry

Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds at the end or in the middle of words. Examine the following examples of consonance in poetry to gain a better understanding.

Poem: Beat! Beat! Drums! by Walt Whitman

Examples of Consonance: (1) Blow! Bugles! Blow! ; (2) windows, doors ; (3) through, ruthless; (4) scatter, congregation ; there's an example in every line.

Analysis: Whitman's poem is an amazing example of literary devices content. The constant consonance mimics the constant beating of the drum. A few lines from the first verse stand out: the repetition of the l sound imitates the blowing of a bugle, yet manages to capture the depth of a bugle blow war call; Line five begins "Leave not the bridegroom quiet" pairing the two words not and quiet, a battle reality.

Shall I Wasting in Despair by George Wither [Notice the letters ‘r’, ‘d’ and ‘I’]

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?"