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Shakespeare/Alliterations in Julius Caesar

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Question
Can you give me 20 examples of alliterations in Julius Caesar!?!?!?!  I am so confused!!!

Answer
Hi, Emma!

I'm so sorry, but this sounds like a homework or class assignment, and I'm not allowed to answer those kinds of questions. So, I can't find your 20 examples for you.

But if you are confused about alliteration, perhaps I can help you get on your way in the assignment.

Alliteration is defined as a series of words (or even two in a row) that begin with the same consonant letters or sounds.  The famous pronouncement in Romeo and Juliet , "parting is such sweet sorrow," is an example of alliteration in the series of "s" sounds. Another famous Shakespearean phrase is from Antony and Cleopatra , when Enobarbus describes his first glimpse of Cleopatra:  "The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne, burnt upon the water."  Here, the "b" sounds don't come exactly next to one another, but they are so explosive that they push along the rhythm of the poetic line by punching the line's poetic beats with such force that they are noticeable and very effective.

Similar vowels that begin a series of words usually are not considered alliteration but instead are examples of "assonance."

Some consider that a series of similar consonants that begin the syllables within a word are also creating alliteration, but this is pretty hard to find and complex to deal with. Plus, not everybody agrees that one word can supply an instance of alliteration, so it is probably best to steer clear of this, unless your teacher has clarified it for you.

So, I would advise you to take the simpler approach, in which case, your task is fairly straightforward:  you're looking for two or more words, back-to-back OR at least close enough within the spoken line that the consonant's natural sound highlights itself to the listener and provides the effect that the poet wants (whatever that might be).

The words do NOT have to mimic any kind of sounds in the natural world.  They just have to begin with the same consonants (or sounds-- be careful to note that some letters in English are sounded different ways, depending on what follows them, as in "knight" and "kin," which would not form alliteration).

Now, you need just go through the play, line by line, and write down or circle all the candidates for alliteration that you find.  Then, go back and choose the best 20 out of the bunch, and you'll be done!

Good luck!
Dr. T.

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Dr. T.

Expertise

I can answer questions about Shakespeare's life and times, his plays and poems, the history of criticism and critics' responses to Shakespeare's works, other authors of the time period, the audiences of the time period, Queen Elizabeth I, women of the Renaissance or Early Modern age, history of rhetoric, British drama, etc.

Experience

I have taught Shakespeare, Early Modern literature, Early Modern women's literature, the history of rhetoric, Arthurian literature, and related general literary subjects and many others in university classrooms for more than 25 years.

Organizations
Renaissance Society of America, South-Central Renaissance Society, John Donne Society

Publications
3 books with University Presses, 1 book with HarperCollins Press; articles with: Continuum Press, DLB, Gale Research Shakespearean Criticism and Shakespearean Criticism Yearbook, College English journal, Studies in English Literature journal, CEA Critic journal, Renascence journal, Texas Papers on Language and Literature journal, several others.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in British Renaissance Literature and Rhetoric; M.A. in English; B.A. English and Theatre

Awards and Honors
I was editor of a scholarly journal for 10 years; Recipient of my university's Recognition Awards for Research, Teaching, and Service; two Sabbatical awards; graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude

Past/Present Clients
Panelist/Reviewer for National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC, 2001, 1997, and 1993; Referee for College Literature, Yale University Press (numerous editions of Shakespeare’s plays), College English, Harper/Collins (1992 to 1995: full-length book manuscripts, including the complete manuscript of The HarperCollins World Reader, Volume I.); Dramaturg for local Little Theatre, 2001–03 (including productions of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Dangerous Liaisons); Dramaturg for various productions in Theatre/Dance Dept at my University (including As You Like It, Midsummer Night's Dream, Measure for Measure, The Tempest)

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