Question: Education

what are the figures of speech in Gray's elegy written in a country churchyard?
In Education | Asked by Hanan3
Asked from the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard study pack
Answers

Thomas Gray : Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

i) Full many a gem of purest  ray serene

The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear

Full many a flower  is born to blush unseen

And waste its sweetness on the desert air

Ans.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

ii) Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can Honour’s voice  provoke  the silent dust,

Or Flattery  soothe the dull cold ear of Death ?

Perhaps  in this neglected  spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant  with celestial fire

Hands that the rod of empire  might have swayed

Or waked  to ecstasy the living lyre (C.U.1967)

Ans. This long passage contains many figures of speech as given below:

i)First two lines  and  the second and third lines  together contain Erotesis or Rhetorical Interrogation. The questions actually confirm the strong negative answer.

ii) Honour , Flattery and  Death  are examples of Personifications as abstractions are invested with human qualities. They are imagined to behave like human beings. Death seems to have ears.

iii) Mansion is implicitly compared to body and this is an example of Metaphor which consists in the suggestion that the soul resides in the body. But the point of comparison is not stated.

iv) ‘Silent dust’ is an example of Euphemism which is a tender expression used for unpleasant meaning.

v) Heart in the sixth line is an example of Synecdoche . Heart means the man, in the form of  the part meaning the whole.

vi) ‘Pregnant with celestial fire’ is an implicit comparison and hence constitutes an example of Metaphor. Implicit comparison is suggested between two dissimilar things child and celestial fire.

vii) Periphrasis  occurs in the last two lines: ‘The rod of empire might have swayed’ and ‘waked to ecstasy the living lyre’.These are round about way of expressions.

 

iv)The boast of heraldry , the pomp of power

     And all that beauty  and all that wealth e’er gave

     Awaits  alike the inevitable hour

    The paths of glory lead but to the grave( C.U.1964)

Ans. This passage contains many figures of speech which are listed below:

i) Heraldry and  Power in the first line, beauty and wealth in the second line are examples of Personification.

ii) ‘And all that’ occurs twice at the beginning of the clauses in the second line and may be regarded as an Anaphora.

iii) The expression ‘Inevitable hour’ is an example of Periphrasis as the simple word ‘death’ is expressed in a round about way. The soft expression is used for ‘Death’ and from this point of view it is an example of Euphemism.

iv)The last line contains an Epigram. It is apparently  contradictory that the paths of glory can lead one not to success but to the grave. But this has a deeper truth that nothing , not even glory , is enduring on earth.

v) The letter ‘p’ is repeated in ‘pomp’ and ‘power’ which are two closely placed words. The letter ‘g’ is repeated in ‘glory’ and ‘grave’ which are two closely placed words. Both are examples of Alliteration.

 

v)For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey

The first line contains an example of Personification because dumb forgetfulness which is an abstraction is invested with human qualities. It is imagined to be preying on men. Dumb forgetfulness is an example of Transferred Epithet because the epithet ‘dumb’ does not properly belong to ‘forgetfulness’ but to men who are forgotten. Similarly, longing look refers to the person  and here the epithet longing is shifted from the subject to the object. This is also an example of Transferred Epithet.

It is also  an example of Hyperbaton which consists in the inversion of the syntax.

  vi) This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned

This is an example of Oxymoron as the two opposite words ‘pleasing’ and ‘anxious’ coexist side by side

  vii) Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day

  The comparison between the cheerful day and warm precinct is implicit and hence constitutes an example  of Metaphor.

Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?(C.U.1987)

viii)The letter ‘l’ occurs in the beginning of ‘longing, lingering  and look

This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned

ix)For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey

   Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day

   Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?(C.U.1987

The whole passage is an example of Erotesis or Rhetorical Interrogation which in the form of a question confirms the negative intention

vi)   Chill penury  repressed  their noble rage,

       

Ans. a)The first line contains a Personification as abstraction like ‘penury’ is invested with human attributes. Penury , here meaning poverty , is personified and it suppresses the rage of the  people.

And froze the genial current of their soul ( N.B.U.2000)

b) The phrase ‘genial current of their soul’ is a round about way of expression for ‘joy’ or ‘happiness’. So it is an example of Periphrasis or Circumlocution.

vii) The curfew tolls the knell of the parting day

   

Ans. Abstractions like curfew and day are invested with human qualities  and are imagined  as human beings. The curfew is tolling  the knell like a Sexton and the day is dying like a man. So it is an example of Personification.

   It is also an example of Metaphor because here the evening is compared  to the death.

viii) The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea

Herd means  cattle. Here abstract  is used for concrete and so it is an example of synecdoche.

viii)          The ploughman homeward plods his weary way

This is an example  of  Transferred Epithet because  the adjective  ‘weary’ is shifted  from the ploughman to the way. Here the ploughman is weary at the end of the day, the way is not weary although the epithet is shifted .

ix)And leaves the world to darkness and to me( V.U.1996)

This is an example  of Zeugma  because here the verb leaves connects two words  darkness and me although it is appropriate only for one word darkness.

x) Let not ambition mock their useful toil

It is an example of Synecdoche because abstract is used for the concrete  as  the word Ambition actually refers to ambitious people.

xi)Nor Grandeur  herar with a disdainful smil

It is an example of Synecdoche  because abstract is used for the concrete  as the word grandeur  refers to the rich people.

xii) The boast of heraldry , the pomp of power /And all that beauty , all that wealth e’er gave.

It is an example  of Personification because here the abstractions like heraldry , power, beauty and wealth are personified  because they show behaviour and feeling like human beings.

And , all  - these are examples of alliteration as the same consonant ‘a’ is used at the beginning of the two words.

xiii) Awaits alike the inevitable hour

It is an example of  Euphemism   as the ‘inevitable hour’ refers to  death avoiding harshness of expression.

 

And drowsy tinkling lull the distant fields

This is an exmple of Metonymy  because container  is used for the thing contained as fields  refer to the cattle and sheep.

Their furrow  oft the stubborn glebe has broke.

This is an example of Hyperbaton as the syntax is inverted for poetic effect.

It is also an example of Metonymy as effect for cause is used  when the furrow is used for the plough itself.

Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

This is an example of Personification because death is here personified.

Hands that rod of empire  might have swayed

This is an example of Synecdoche in which  part for the whole is used as hands refer to the ploughmen themselves.

Some village Hampden  that with dauntless breast

This is an example of Synecdoche because individual for classes is indicated as Hampden represents a class of courageous  leaders and protestors against tyranny.

Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest

This is an example of Synecdoche because individual for classes is indicated as  Milton represents a class of famous  talented poets.

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

The phrase ‘lap of Earth’ is an example of metaphor as Earth compared to a mother implicitly . Head is an example of Synecdoche as part for the whole is indicated  because head means the whole body of the dead person.

 

 

 Dr.Ratan Bhattacharjee

(guest) | 1484 days ago