Personification in Poetry

The impersonation of human characteristics attributed to inanimate objects is called personification. It has frequently been used in many kinds of literature, especially poetry. Here the readers will also find the use of personification in poetry.

Origin of Personification

The term originated in 1728.

Definition

The impersonation of human characteristics attributed to inanimate objects is called personification. It has frequently been used in many kinds of literature, especially poetry. It paved the way for the writers to personify world life by giving normal human behaviors and emotions to animals, inanimate objects, and abstract ideas. It provides the qualities of a person to an animal, an object, or an idea. It arises from a natural tendency in man to invest things and ideas with rates and passions like his own in moments of intense feeling.

Examples of Personification

  • The trees whispered their discontent.
  • The flowers begged for water.
  • I heard the streets speaking about you.
  • I love the sound of raindrops dancing on the roof.
  • The stars are smiling at me today.
  • I feel my computer hates me.
  • ‘Love’ is blind.
  • The popcorn leaped out of the bowl.
  • ‘Opportunity knocks at the door, but only once.
examples of personification

Personification in Poetry

“Mirror” (by Sylvia Plath)

“I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately”.

The personification of the mirror has been described in this poem. The ‘mirror’ has been telling the story. In other words, the writer tells us this object’s importance in people’s lives. In fact, ‘Plath shows her struggle to gain her identity in society, and she says it is necessary to look intelligent, young, and good-looking.

“Song of the rain” by (Khalil Jibran)

“I am dotted silver thread’s dropped from heaven’,
By the gods, Nautre then takes me, to adorn
Her fields and valleys.”

In the poem, rain has been personified. The writer has displayed the rain as life-living. It gives a source of pleasure to the flowers. ‘Rain’ provides satisfaction to the human and has been considered the messenger of mercy.

“I Wandered lonely as a Cloud” (by William Wordsworth)

“Besides the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

“William Wordsworth” these lines compares the dancing of daffodils with humans, and in this, he has personified the daffodils with humans as human dances, so the daffodils are dancing.

“Ten thousand saw I at the glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee”

Here in the above lines, again, “Wordsworth,” while giving non-living objects (daffodils) the quality of humans, compares the quality of their dancing. He reaches the heads of daffodils moving, and the waves near the daffodils are also dancing, which in other words, is the quality of humans.

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

“The moon gazed on my midnight
Labours, while, with unrelaxed and
Breathless eagerness, I pursued
Nature to her hiding-places”

In the poem, the moon and nature have been personified. Both present as they are behaving like humans.

“My Town” (by Sharon Hendricks)

“the leaves on the ground
Danced in the wind
The brook sang merrily as it
Went on its way”.

In the above stanza of the poem, the poet has personified the leaves and brook with the humans. Leaves have been displayed with the human quality of dancing as when the wind blows, the leaves dance. Similarly, singing is the quality of humans that the brook has personified.

“Ode on a Grecian Urn” (by Keat’s)

In “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” the speaker refers urn as an “unravished bride of quietness,” and is personified by the humans. However, the literal meaning of the “unravished bride of quietness” is the history of the world, which is an excellent source of pleasure for the people. He personified the colors of the urn and that each color has some event or story.

The Moon and the Yew Tree by “Sylvia Plath”

“The moon is no door. It’s a face in it’s own right’,
White as the knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime, it is quiet
With the O gape of complete despair. I live here.
twice on Sunday’, the bell’s startle the sky,
eight great tongue’s affirming the resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their name’s.

“Paradise Lost” (by Milton)

“So saying, her rash hand, in evil hour.
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she ate,
Earth felt the wound; and Nature, from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe,
That all was lost”.

“Milton” personified the situation when ‘Eve’ took the forbidden fruit. Here the position of humans is exemplified by the plucking of fruit.

“Cloud” (by P.B. Shelley)

“I bring fresh shower’s for the thirsting flower’s,
From the seas and the streams”

In the above lines, the thirst for flowers has been personified by humans’ appetite. The writer uses the personification of thirsting flowers that he would bring water from the seas and streams as humans to quench their thirst and get water from the oceans.

“As You Like it” (by Shakespeare)

“The icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind.”

“Milton’s letter to Cronwell”

“Peace hath her victories.
“No less renowned than war”

‘In the above lines, Milton gives the extreme wisdom that victory through peace does not carry any blood-shed, whereas war is the suffering of human beings and the loss of precious lives.

Further Reading

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