Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Senior Secondary School 2

Poetic Devices




TERM: 2nd Term


  1. Exam Reflection Literature- in-English by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.
  2. Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Prose and Drama) by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.  
  3. Native Son by Richard Wright.



Poetic Devices

Biblical Allusion: The story of the poem, ‘The Proud king’ is similar to the bible story of King Nebuchadnezzar. He is noted in the bible to have similar fate to that which King Jovinian witnessed due to pride and neglect for God. King Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king that no other throne in his reign as king could challenge in every respect of kingship. But God decided to teach King Nebuchadnezzar a lesson by making him act like an animal and he was rejected by his people to be king over them.  For good seven years Nebuchadnezzar was rejected and he could not sit on the throne until he cried to God for mercy and forgiveness. So Jovinian’s experience model itself after that of King Nebuchadnezzar.


Rhetorical Question: The major poetic device that dominates this poem is the use of rhetorical questions. This is used by King Jovinian who found himself in a mess. Some of it include: ‘Lord God, what bitter things are these?/What hast thou done, that every man that sees/This wretched body of my death is fain?...Why am I hated so of everyone? Wilt thou not let me live my life again….’ When he met with the priest, he asks: ‘Father…knowest thou Jovinian? Knowest thou me not, made naked, poor and wain? Alas, O father! Am I not the King?’


Antithesis: There is a big contrast in the way King Jovinian lived his life before he lost his throne to an angelic figure and the moment he was helpless out there in the streets in search of help to regain his throne. The affluence that surround is a complete opposite of the penury and lack he witness in less than twenty four hours. Antithesis can also be seen in his conduct when he returned as king which is the exact opposite of what he displays before he was displaced as king.


Irony: The poem is full of powerful ironies but the most prominent ones are the claim of the impostor that he has been a king for many years and his own real name too is Jovinian. The impostor claims that his mother, the Queen delivers him as a baby boy in that house to his royal father (When in this house the Queen my mother bore/unto my longing father…). Another irony is in the Queen’s speech when the impostor asks her to speak. She says: ‘Thou art the man/By whose side I have lain for many years/Thou art my lord Jovinian life and dear.’ The mistaken identity on the part of the Queen contributes a lot to dramatic irony.

Narrative Poem: A clear examination of the poem will reveal that the poem adopts a narrative style as its rendition medium. With this the poet-speaker effectively narrates quaking experience a proud king went through. It was trajectory of shame that King Jovinian was forced by a supreme power to observe in order to effect an adjustment in his conduct and manners.



  1. Examine the use of irony in the poem.
  2. How does the poet explore narrative style?



  1. What are the poetic devices employed in the work?
  2. Discuss the use of biblical allusion in the poem.



Read the poetic devices of the poem in Exam Focus and summarise.



  • “Here comes the princess, now heaven walls on earth”, illustrates the use of A. contrast. B. metaphor. C. metonymy. D. meiosis                                                                                                                                                                                                  


  1. An ode is usually a poem written for A. condemnation. B. celebration. C. instruction. D. entertainment.
  2. The main character in a literary work is the A. antagonist. B. protagonist. C. narrator. D actor.
  3. A sonnet may be divided into an octave and A.  tercet. B. quatrain. C. sestet. D. septet.
  4. “All hands on deck” is an example of A. metaphor. B personification. C. synecdoche D. simile



Read the content analysis of the poem in Exam Focus and summarise it.


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