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Sound and Sense


Sound and Sense By Alexander Pope Instructor: Ms. Doris L.W. Chang Group Members Read the poem ----- Michelle Introduction ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sound and Sense

Sound and Sense
  • By Alexander Pope
  • Instructor Ms. Doris L.W. Chang

Group Members
  • Read the poem --------------------
  • Introduction -----------------------
  • Paraphrase -----------------------
  • About Alexander Pope ---------
  • Main idea Divided parts ---------
  • Vocabulary Diction ------------ Eri
  • Speaker and Listener -------------
  • Sound effects and Imagery -------------
  • Conclusion ---------------------------

  • An Essay on Criticism
  • This poem was written in 1709, when Pope was
    twenty years old. It is considered his first
    mature work. It was published in 1711.
  • This poem was divided into three parts.
  • Part I Introduction
  • The poem starts with a discussion of the rules of
    taste which ought to govern poetry, and which
    enable a critic to make sound critical judgments.

  • Part II In this part, it emphasizes on some
    fixed and unchangeable form of the poems at his
    age. Sound and Sense is part of this part.
  • Pope uses a structure of idea?examples?idea?examp
    les to present his criticism toward those poets
    who only care for the sound rather than sense.
    Also, he emphasizes the wit very much. His
    ideal poem is to write with wit, rhymes, and
    beauty combined. Therefore, the beautiful sense
    could be echoed by the rhyming sound.

  • Part III Conclusion
  • At this final part, Pope discusses the moral
    qualities and virtues inherent in some ideal
    critics. And he laments for the decay of them.
  • The information was adapted from
  • http//

18th Century Poetry
  • 18th century? The Age of Satire
  • 18th century is The Age of Reason, which is
    totally opposite to the Romantic period. In this
    age, people believed that through Reason, Man
    could reach perfection. Therefore, satire became
    one of the popular types of literary works. And
    in this kind of work, Wit was highly valued. Lots
    of satires were written in this kind of biting
    wit attitude.
  • Disciplined Invention Wit
  • The poet must have the invention, quickness of
    mind to create the representative and lively
    images for his poem. And poets should have the
    ability to perceive resemblances between things
    apparently unlike and to enliven the poem with
    appropriate images, similes, and metaphors.

Heroic Couplet
  • A couplet?
  • 1) it has two lines rhyming
  • 2) the two lines included a
    complete unified thought.
  • 3) it ended with a terminal mark of
  • A heroic couplet is a strictly iambic
    pentameter couplet,
  • strongly end-stopped, and with the couplets
  • closed. And it is the principle form of English
    neoclassical style.
  • The information is adapted from
  • http//

About Alexander Pope
  • Alexander Pope (16881744)
  • Pope was born in London and his parents were
  • A devastating illness struck him in childhood,
    and made him
  • deformed. He never grew taller than 4ft 6in and
    was subject to
  • violent headaches. Until he was 12 years old,
    he was educated largely
  • by priests, and afterward he was much educated
    by his relatives and
  • he was also self-taught.
  • And because he attacked his literary
    contemporaries viciously and
  • often without provocation that he had many
    literary enemies.
  • Pope used the heroic couplet with exceptional
    brilliance, giving it a
  • witty, occasionally biting quality. His success
    made it the dominant
  • poetic form of his century, and his poetry was
    translated into many
  • languages.
  • The information was adapted from
  • http//

  • But most people judge a poem by the melody. They
    judge if a poem is right or wrong by whether the
    tone is smooth or rough.
  • Though Muse, the Greek goddess of poetry,
    conspires thousand charms, all these tuneful
    fools who haunt Parnassus not mend their mind but
    to please their ears, admire her voice. That is
    similar to some people going to the church for
    the music there but not for the teaching.
  • The syllables are equally required though the ear
    is often tired with the open vowels. While filler
    words join their weak and silly aid and ten low
    words are often put in one dull line. While they
    ring the same unvaried chimes over and over again
    with certain returns, expected rhymes.

  • Wherever you find the cooling western breeze,
    in the next line whisper through the trees
    appears. If there is crystal streams with
    pleasing murmurs creeps, you can easily predict
    the next word sleeping.
  • Then, at the end and only couplet, full of
    unmeaning things which poets call a thought ends
    the poem with a needless Alexandrine (a six-foot
    line, used in pentameter poems to vary the pace
    mechanically). That is like a wounded snake
    dragging itself along.
  • Poets leave such thing to tune their dull rhymes
    and they think that they know what is roundly
    smooth or languishingly slow. People also praise
    this easy energy of a line and think that
    Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join in

  • True ease in writing comes from art not from
    chance, as those who have learned to dance can
    move easily. It is not enough to only focus on
    the sound, the sound must be an echo to the
  • When poets describe Zephyr, the western wind,
    breezing gently, the strain is soft and the
    smooth stream flows in smooth numbers. But, when
    describing loud surges lashing the sounding
    shore, the hoarse and rough verse should like the
    torrent roar.
  • The line and the word should move slowly and with
    difficulty to show how hard Ajax strives to throw
    some heavy rock. Not so like Camilla swiftly goes
    through the plain, flying over the unbending
    corn, and moves quickly alone the main.

  • Hear how surprise lays in Timotheus varied
    lines, and reveals alternate passions fall and
    rose! While, at each change, the son of Libyan
    Jove burns with glory and then melts with love,
    his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, sighs
    steal out and tears begin to flow.
  • Persians and Greeks like to found their thoughts
    in the turns of nature, and the poets are
    conquered and only focus on the sound. However,
    the power of music should allow our hearts to
    respond to our sense, just like Timotheus in the
    past and Dryden nowadays.

Main Idea
  • True ease in writing comes from Art, not Chance,
    As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
    'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence The
    sound must seem an echo to the sense.
  • This is the key point of this poem. The first two
    sentences was written in a heroic couplet form
    and became an ideal model of this kind of form,
    while he was criticizing the pots follies when
    writing heroic couplet. Then the next two
    sentences he mentioned that sound must be
    corresponded with sense. He emphasizes on sound
    must be created out of emotion.

Divided Parts
  • This poem divided into three parts.
  • Part I
  • But most by numbers but the music there. (line
  • General criticism of the follies?Pope talks about
    the common
  • way of people judging a poets poem.
  • In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms
    conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools
    admire (line 339)
  • Here, we think that he is being sarcastic about
    those fools who admire muse blindly. Also, those
    fools go to the church only for the music rather
    than the doctrine.

Divided Parts
  • Part II
  • These equal syllables drag its slow length
  • (line 344357)
  • Here, he starts to really criticize the
    unchangeable form and the predictability of
  • While expletives their feeble aid to join (line
  • He criticizes those poets adding the words to
    help their poems become rhyming. However, this
    makes the poem not so beautiful because of those
    useless words.
  • And ten low words oft creep in one dull line
    While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
    With sure returns of still expected rhymes
    (line 347349)
  • These three lines are criticizing the
    unchangeable form of poetry

Divided Parts
  • Where'er you find the cooling western breeze,
    In the next line, it whispers thro' the
    treesIf crystal streams with pleasing murmurs
    creep, The reader's threaten'd (not in vain)
    with sleep (line 350353)
  • These four lines are the examples used by Pope to
    laugh at the predictability of poetry.
  • Then, at the last and only couplet, fraught With
    some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A
    needless Alexandrine ends the song, That, like a
    wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
    (line 354357)
  • These four lines are not only keep on satirizing
    the unchangeable form of poetry, but also
    complain about the long, dull ending of those
    poems, just like the wounded snake dragging its

Divided Parts
  • Part III
  • Leave such to tune is Dryden now. (line
  • Popes ideal poem?This part, Pope starts to
    emphasize the main idea, which mentioned in
    line365 that the sound must seem an echo to the
  • Leave such to tune their own dull rhymes, and
    know What's roundly smooth, or languishingly
    slow And praise the easy vigour of a line Where
    Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness join.
    (line 358361)
  • These four lines, Pope starts to talk about the
    poets who add the rhymes without concerning the
    inner sense. They just care about the rhymes.

Divided Parts
  • True ease in writing comes from Art, not Chance,
    As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
    'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence The
    sound must seem an echo to the sense. (line
  • These four lines are the main idea of the poem.
    Pope believed that the sound must come from sense
    naturally, rather than created by poets.
  • The following fourteen lines are the examples
    that Pope provides to show how sound should be
    the echo to the sense.
  • Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
    And the world's Victor stood subdued by sound!
    The power of music all our hearts allow, And what
    Timotheus was is Dryden now. (line 380383)
  • The last four lines are the conclusion about the
    main idea

  • muse to think carefully about something for a
    time, without nothing what is happing around.
  • conspire to plan to do something bad or illegal
    with a group people
  • Ex A group of terrorist were conspiring to
    blow up the plane
  • tuneful musical, pleasant to listen to
  • doctrine a set of principles or beliefs,
    especially religious ones
  • expletive a word, especially a rude word, that
    you use when you are angry or in pain
  • feeble with no energy or power weak
  • unvaried same, unchanged

  • couplet two lines of poetry of equal length one
    after the other
  • fraught (use about people) worried and nervous
  • (use about a situation) very busy so that people
    become nervous
  • Alexandrine a six foot iambic pentameter
  • Iambic having one short or weak syllable
    followed by one long or strong syllable
  • vigor strength or energy
  • echo a sound that is repeated as it is sent
    back off surface such as the wall of a tunnel
  • strain part of tune of music

  • Zephyr soft gentle breeze
  • surge a sudden strong movement in a particular
  • lash to strike something or somebody with a
  • hoarse sounding rough and quiet
  • verse writing arranged in lines with have a
    definite rhythm and often finish with same sound
  • torrent a strong fast flow of something,
    especially water
  • strive to try very hard to do or get something

  • 18th Century Poetry compared with Romantic
    poetry, it used difficult and hard understand
    words. These words could change easy and simple
    words to understand. For example, conspire (line
    339). It means to plan to do something bad or
    illegal with a group people. We could change to
    unite. And doctrine (line 343) changed to theory.
    Feeble (line 346) changed to weak. Fraught (line
    354) changed to worried, nervous. Vigor (line
    360) changed to strong, fine. Strain (line 366)
    changed to tune, tone. Romantic poetry was
    written by easy words. If that time wrote this
    poem, this poem became understand easily.

Speaker and Listener
  • The speaker of this poem is the poet, Alexander
    Pope, he wrote the poem to express his criticism
    toward the type of writing poems at his age. He
    criticized that some people emphasized on the
    sounds and rhyme when they write poems.
  • And the listener could be all the people at his
    age, especially those who write poem in the way
    which Pope criticized. In other words, we think
    the purpose for Pope to write this poem probably
    is to point out that it is no use to emphasize
    the sound if the lines do not make any sense. And
    that is why we say that the listener could
    especially be those who emphasize on sound when
    writing poems.

Sound Effects and Imagery
  • Predictable rhymes
  • In the poem, Pope criticized that other poets
    would use some stale words as the rhymes. And the
    listener can easily predict it!
  • Ex
  • Wherere you find the cooling western
  • In the next line, it whisper through the
  • If crystal streams with pleasing murmurs
  • (line350353)

Sound Effects and Imagery
  • The pace
  • With the paces, we can easily image how the
    things are going. And we can easily catch the
    feeling and form a picture from words.
  • Ex
  • That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow
    length along.
  • (line357)
  • Whats roundly smooth or languishingly slow
  • Here, the poet used long vowels such as those in
    wounded, snake, slow, along, roundly,
    and smooth help to slow down the pace. And the
    commas provide nearly a full stop in the midst of
    these lines to make the lines as long and slow as
    the snake.

Sound Effects and Imagery
  • Onomatopoeia
  • The poem uses many onomatopoeia words and paces
    of the lines which can spot the imagery more
    clearly. With the clear imagery, the listener can
    get the poets point, sense, and the atmosphere
  • Ex
  • Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
  • And the smooth stream in smoother number
  • But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
  • The hoarse, rough verse should like the
    torrent roar.
  • (line366369) 
  • Compare these lines with the western breeze
    lines, Pope express that the sound must seem an
    echo to the sense. in the whole poem.

  • 1.
  • Where'er you find "the cooling western
  • In the next line, it" whispers through the
  • If crystal streams" with pleasing murmurs
  • The reader's threatened (not in vain) with
  • (line 35035)
  • 2.
  • Then, at the last end only couplet fraught
  • With some unmeaning thing they call a
  • (line 354355)

  • As we know that Alexander Pope is a poet and a
    critic. He associate his two specialties, wrote a
    poem which criticized other poetry. In this way,
    what he wrote had become ironic, and his attitude
    was sarcastic. He criticized the poets who wrote
    only for meeting the form of heroic couplet, and
    this caused lots of repetition in poems. For the
    rhymes are important in this style of writing,
    the poets only concentrated on the sound but not
    the sense. The poets did not think about how to
    blend the sound with the sense or beauty.
    Therefore, we can find those ideal ways to
    combine them through Pope's examples. And through
    this poem, we can not only notice the biting wit
    of Pope, but also can reflect to the literary
    style of 18century.