This post was originally from a school presentation. Read On!
Chances are, you have probably read a poem, play, or speech. Ever noticed how a paragraph is made up of phrases that have repeating words at the end? This common phrase is called an Epistrophe. An epistrophe by definition is a “repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect.”
There are many uses for an Epistrophe, such as adding drama, for emphasis, and for rhyming in things like plays, speeches, and poems. You might be asking “James, isn’t that the same as an anaphora?” Well, not exactly. An anaphora is the same concept, but it occurs at the beginning of the word, such the popular hymn “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus” “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, / Just to take Him at His Word / Just to rest upon His promise, / Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Even more confusing, is the combination between a Epistrophe and a Anaphora: the Symploce. A symploce is a phrase that includes a epistrophe and a Anaphora, such as “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.”
The Epistrophe is used in many popular works, such as the Gettysburg Address. “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It is also used in 1st Corinthians 13:11: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. William Shakespeare uses it in Merchant of Venice: If you had known the virtue of the ring, Or half her worthiness that gave the ring, Or your own honor to contain the ring, You would not then have parted with the ring. I figured some of the audience would enjoy the fact that even today, the epistrophe is used, such as Beyoncé’s song, Single Ladies.
Summing up, an Epistrophe is a cool way to add spice to any writing and demonstrates advanced writing ability in many mediums. Next time you write a paper, you should try to incorporate an Epistrophe in your work!