Caesura is a pause or break in a line of poetry or prose, usually marked by a punctuation mark or a natural rhythm of speech. This pause can be used to create emphasis, contrast, or a sense of division or separation between different parts of a sentence or verse. In poetry, caesura is often used to create a sense of rhythm and structure, and can be found in various forms of verse, such as haiku, sonnets, and blank verse. Caesura can also be used in prose to create a sense of pacing and emphasis.
Examples of caesura:
“To be, or not to be: that is the question” – The colon in this line from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” serves as a caesura, creating a pause that emphasizes the contrast between the two options presented.
“Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul” – The slash in this line from Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope” serves as a caesura, creating a pause and a sense of division between the two parts of the metaphor.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep” – The comma in this line from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” serves as a caesura, creating a pause and emphasizing the speaker’s obligations.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness” – The comma and repetition in this line from Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities” serve as caesuras, creating a sense of contrast and division between the two descriptions.
“There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away” – The line break in this poem by Emily Dickinson serves as a caesura, creating a pause and emphasizing the metaphor of books as a means of escape.