Asyndeton is derived from the Greek phrase asyndeton, which means “unconnected.” It is a stylistic device utilized in literature and poetry to intentionally cast off conjunctions among the phrases, and in the sentence, yet keep grammatical accuracy. This literary tool facilitates in lowering the indirect which means of the phrase, and presents it in a concise form. It changed into first used in Greek and Latin literature.
Types of Asyndeton
Asyndeton examples may be labeled into types:
Used among words and phrases inside a sentence
“Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, Shrunk to this little measure?”
(Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1, by way of William Shakespeare)
Used between sentences or clauses
“Without looking, with out making a sound, without talking”
(Oedipus at Colonus, by using Sophecles)
Difference Between Syndeton and Asyndeton
Syndeton and asyndeton are opposite to one any other. Syndeton consists of the addition of multiple conjunctions, inclusive of in this instance: “He eats and sleeps and drinks.” On the opposite hand, asyndeton is the elimination, or leaving out, of conjunctions, inclusive of in this instance: “He eats, sleeps, drinks.”
Each creates a completely one-of-a-kind effect. Syndeton slows down the rhythm of speech, and makes it moderate, while asyndeton hastens the rhythm of the speech.
Examples of Asyndeton in Literature
Example #1: Othello (By William Shakespeare)
“Call up her father.
Rouse him. Make after him, Poison his delight,
Proclaim him in the streets. Incense her kinsmen,
And, even though he in a fertile climate dwell…”
In this excerpt, Shakespeare has removed conjunctions deliberately. There is a shortage of the conjunctions and, for, or, and but, that are required to sign up for the sentences. Due to this, the phrases were emphasized, and emotions of anger and jealousy are articulated explicitly.
Example #2: The Scholar-Gipsy (By Matthew Arnold)
“Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes!
No longer depart thy wistful flock unfed,
Nor permit thy bawling fellows rack their throats,
Nor the cropp’d herbage shoot some other head…
Thou hast now not lived, why should’st thou perish, so?
Thou hadst one aim, one business, one desire;
Else wert thou long because numbered with the dead…”
This is a superb instance of asyndeton. The conjunctions are missing within the sentences, consisting of the second one and sixth lines are not connected with adjacent words. However, it produces speed in the poem.
Example #3: The Winter’s Tale (By William Shakespeare)
“Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is assembly noses?
Kissing with interior lip? preventing the career
Of laughter with a sigh? (a word infallible
Of breaking honesty!) horsing foot on foot? “
In this excerpt, we can study both varieties of asyndeton. The first type (among the words) together with “from” is removed between the phrases “leaning” and “cheek” and further the second type (among the sentences) with the sentences now not being joined via conjunctions.
Example #4: Rhetoric (By Aristotle)
“This is the villain amongst you who deceived you, who cheated you, who supposed to betray you completely…”
The phrase “and” is not featured in the given lines, that may have functioned as a conjunction here. Aristotle believed that asyndeton ought to be powerful if used inside the ending of the texts. Here he himself hired this device.
Example #5: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (By James Joyce)
“Consciousness of vicinity came ebbing again to him slowly over a full-size tract of time unlit, unfelt, unlived…”
Joyce has extensively utilized this device, omitting the conjunctions with a purpose to supply rhythm and tempo to the text. Here, we can see the removal of conjunctions, which could have joined the phrases unlit, unfelt, and unlived. This creates are growing a frantic and moved quickly effect.
Function of Asyndeton
Asyndeton helps in rushing up the rhythm of phrases. Mostly this approach is employed in speech but can be used in written works too. It enables in attracting readers to collaborate with the writers, considering that it suggests that phrases, terms, and sentences are incomplete, and the readers would have to perform a little work to infer meanings. This model creates immediately impact, and the readers are attuned to what the author is making an attempt to convey.
Asyndeton is often applied intentionally with a purpose to deliver a unique emphasis to the text, thereby drawing the attention of readers towards a specific concept the author desires to convey.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw