Caesura

A rhetorical break in the flow of sound in the middle of a line of verse is termed as caesura. This literary element is found specifically in poems of Anglo-Saxon literature. 


Some examples include “Heart was bent. The best and most noble” (Beowulf, line 171), “On wounded knees. Humbaba fell and seemed” (The Epic of Gilgamesh, line 182), “..the fates of death so long? How unless one last time,” (The Iliad, Book 22: The Death of Hector, line 18), and “tell openly. I in sooth know,” (The Wanderer, line 11). Sir Thomas Malory’s short story, The Death of King Arthur, does not contain any examples caesura because it is not written in verse format. This element is identified by a punctuation mark, such as a period or comma, in the middle of a line. These breaks are both literary and verbal. When reading these lines, the reader would take a small pause at the punctuation mark and then continue on with the next word of the line.

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