Identify and explain the figures of speech used in the poem The Daffodils by William Wordsworth.
In the poem ‘Daffodils’ or ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ the poet has used several figures of speech to give it a rhetorical effect. Those are elaborated below.
Simile is a direct comparison between two different things using ‘as’ or ‘like’.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
In the above line, the poet has compared himself to a cloud using ‘as’. This is an example of simile.
Continuous as the stars that shine
…margin of a bay
In the above extract the poet has compared the flowers with the shining stars on the Milky Way.
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sound at the beginning or in stressed syllables of nearby words.
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
And dances with the daffodils
The repetition of the sounds ‘b’ and ‘d’ in above lines are examples of alliteration.
Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
In the two examples above, the poet has used ‘crowd’ and ‘ten thousand’ to mean a lot of daffodils. But he must not have counted them there at a glance. This is an obvious exaggeration.
They stretched in never-ending line
Yes, the flowers were stretched in a vast area, but that is surely not ‘never-ending’. The poet has made an overstatement here.
The poet has attributed human characteristics to the daffodils (non-human objects) in this poem.
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee
All the above lines are personification of the flowers.
The waves beside them danced;
Wordsworth has personified the waves in this line.
Title of the poem Daffodils is an example for imagery. Through the title Wordsworth creates an image of daffodils and advocates the imagery throughout the poem using visual images like fields, lakes, trees and stars.