The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018


Anaphora: A rhetorical figure involving the exact repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of successive lines or sentences. Anaphora is a type of parallelism.

EXAMPLES: The following stanza from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (c. 1353):

Swich fin° hath, lo, this Troilus for love;Such ending

Swich fin hath al his grete° worthinesse;great

Swich fin hath his estaat real° above;royal

Swich fin his lust, swich fin hath his nobleness;

Swich fin hath false worlde’s brotelnesse:°brittleness

And thus bigan his loving of Criseyde,

As I have told, and in this wise he deide.°died

Martin Luther King employed anaphora in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech (1963), in which several successive sentences begin with the phrase “I have a dream that one day …”