Isocolon is a rhetorical device that includes a succession of sentences, terms, and clauses of grammatically identical period. In this discern of speech, a sentence has a parallel structure that is made up of words, clauses, or terms of same duration, sound, meter, and rhythm. Isocolon is the repetition of comparable grammatical forms.
Types of Isocolon
Examples of isocolon can also fall under any of the following types:
Bicolon – Bicolon has grammatically equal structures. An example for this is Harley Davidson’s slogan “American by Birth. Rebel by Choice.”
Tricolon – If there are three grammatically same structures, it's miles referred to as a tricolon. Such as: “That authorities of the humans, via the humans, and for the humans shall no longer perish from the earth.” (Abraham Lincoln)
Tetracolon – “I’ll deliver my jewels for a fixed of beads, /My terrifi palace for a hermitage, /My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown, /My figured goblets for a dish of wood…” (Richard II, with the aid of William Shakespeare). This is an instance of tetra colon, in which 4 parallel grammatical structures are written in succession. Tetracolon is likewise known as quatrains.
Examples of Isocolon in Literature
Example #1: Community (By John Donne)
“Good we should love, and should hate sick,
For sick is unwell, and proper suitable still;
But there are matters indifferent,
Which we may neither hate, nor love,
But one, and then some other prove,
As we shall locate our fancy bent…”
Donne has used contrasting thoughts of love and hate, properly and ill, which are placed in a parallel format of equal lengths. He desires to lay emphasis on the main point that humans love appropriate because it is proper, while they hate horrific because it's miles certainly bad.
Example #2: The Tyger (By William Blake)
“What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its lethal terrors clasp?”
Blake makes effective use of isocolon in this poem. Here, the parallel structures begin with a question that creates a normal rhythm in the text.
Example #3: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (By James Joyce)
“Pity is the sensation which arrests the thoughts in the presence of in anyway is grave and steady in human sufferings and unites it with the sufferer. Terror is the sensation which arrests the mind inside the presence of in any way is grave and steady in human sufferings and unites it with the secret cause…”
This is likewise certainly one of the well-known isocolon examples, where the successive clauses are written in the same length, and with parallel structure. This tool is useful in developing a stunning rhythm.
Example #4: Henry VIII (By William Shakespeare)
“My lord, we have
Stood here gazing him: Some abnormal commotion
Is in his brain: he bites his lip, and starts;
Stops on a sudden, appears upon the ground,
Then, lays his finger on his temple; straight,
Springs out into rapid gait; then, stops again,
Strikes his breast hard; and anon, he casts
His eye against the moon: in most strange postures.”
In this example, isocolon is transformed into diazeugma, wherein multiple verbs are connected to a single subject. These multiple verbs with the same period create unique dramatic effect, and make the description extra vivid.
Example #5: A Tale of Two Cities (By Charles Dickens)
“It turned into the quality of times, it become the worst of times, it became the age of wisdom, it changed into the age of foolishness, it turned into the epoch of belief, it turned into the epoch of incredulity, it turned into the season of Light, it became the season of Darkness, it became the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
Due to the repeated phrase “it changed into…” within the passage, readers are provoked to cognizance on the traits of “age.”
Function of Isocolon
The use of isocolon in speech and in writing helps in keeping consistency and growing balanced ideas. Because parallel terms and clauses are recurring in isocolons, this will be a very effective persuasive tool. Isocolon brings rhythm and balance to sentences, hence, it gives a clean go with the flow to the thoughts expressed in a piece. For this reason, famous legal professionals and politicians extensively employ this technique of persuasion. Isocolons are found in literary works, as well as in political, social, and everyday conversation.
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