Cacophony poetry

Cacophony is the use of harsh words with unpleasant sound. In this article we will read about the cacophony poetry.

What is Cacophony?

Caco-phony (bad voice). Originated from the Greek word “kakophonos” which means evil sound.
In simple words, cacophony is considered a bad voice. In literature, the amalgamation of harsh and unpleasant sounds is called cacophony. It is the opposite of euphony. This figure of speech is commonly used in poetry or prose.

The sounds of bells, sirens, and the horns of vehicles are well-known examples of cacophony. Cacophonic sounds can be achieved primarily by using consonant sounds. Such as, (p, b, d, g, k, ch, sh), etc.

Cacophony Poetry

Through the Looking-Gloss and What Alice Found There
By Lewis Carroll

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves, an
And the mome raths outgrabe.”

In the above stanza, ambiguous, harsh, and unheard sounds have been used. For example, “Twas”, “gyre”, “wabe”, “mimsy”, “Borogroves”.

Rime to the Ancient Mariner by S.T. Coleridge

“With throats unslaked,
With black lips baked”

Here the words “throat”, “unslacked”, “blacked” and “baked” are unpleasant sounds. Therefore, we can say that cacophony has been used there.

In the Memory of W.B. Yeats by W.H. Auden

“The Day of His Death Was a Dark cold day”

Here there is a repetition of ‘da’ sounds in the sentence which is annoying for the reader. Even otherwise, the use of words ‘death’ and ‘dark’ are not commonly used. These words are used on some mournful or distressing occasion. Here the aforementioned words are creating sense of cacophony.

Morte D’Arthur by Tennyson

Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff changed round him as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels
And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon

The words like, ‘harness’, ‘barren’, ‘black’, ‘crag’ are examples of cacophony sounds. The poem ‘Morte D’Arthu” actually demonstrates the jealousy, competition and revenge. The ‘King’ was betrayed by his wife and in the end, his son killed the ‘King’ over the battle of kingdom.

Dover Beach by Mathew Arnold

“Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled”

Here the cacophonic words, “girdle” and “furled” have been used which sounds unpleasant. The poem is about the opposition of ideas between the past and future. He finds the people more faithful with religion in the past and when he looks towards future, he sees nothing but darkness. People are no more faithful to their religion.

Pied Piper by Robert Browning

They fought the dogs and killed the eats…
Split open the kegs of saled sprats,
Made nest inside men’s Sunday hats;

Cacophony Songs List:

  • Savage
  • Where My Fortune Lies
  • The Ninja
  • Concerto
  • Burn the Ground
  • Desert Island
  • Speed Metal Symphony

Difference between Euphony & Cacophony

Euphony denotes the pleasing sound, usually produced by long vowels rather than consonants. For example, “Twinkle Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are”. On the other hand, cacophony is the opposite of euphony. It is the combination of harsh and rough sounds and words.

Why Writers Use Cacophony?

Sometimes, the writers use his words to achieve a particular effect. These words are also used to portray the distressing situation, battle scenes, and emotions as well. These sounds display the emotional state of mind of a character.

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