Asyndeton is a rhetorical device that omits connecting conjunctions. The purpose of this figure is to conduce to energy and vividness.
The word ‘asyndeton’ has come from Greek ‘asundeton’ (unconnected). It is a compound of a (not) and ‘sundeton’ (bound together) and literally means ‘not bound together. The asyndeton, thus, implies the omission of the connecting conjunction.
Importance of Using Asyndeton:
In asyndeton, there is the omission of the connecting conjunction for the purpose of securing vividness and force in the expression.
The use of asyndeton can speed up the rhythm of a phrase, make it more memorable or urgent, or offer other stylistic effects.
When the conjunction is omitted, all elements exist on the same level, which can create interesting comparisons among objects or ideas that might not initially appear similar or comparable.
Here are some examples:
(i) Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree. -Spenser
(ii) I slip, I slide, I gleam, I dance. -Tennyson
(iii) The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood. –Shakespeare
(iv) Fear, pity, justice, indignation, start -Goldsmith
The opposite of Asyndeton is Polysyndeton. In the polysyndeton, there is the excessive use of the connecting conjunctions to gain an increased emphasis.
Importance of Using Polysyndeton:
Writers also use polysyndetons to create pauses in a sentence; this allows an emphasis on each of the series of words or thoughts to show that each one is equally important.
Polysyndeton creates a rhythmic cadence, sometimes speeding the tempo up and sometimes slowing it down.
(i) Clanging fights and flaming town and sinking ships and praying hands. – Tennyson
(ii) That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. —Tennyson
(iii) There was a low rumbling of heavy sea-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of women’s shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher.- Melville
(iv) “I wore a sweater, and a hat, and a scarf, and a pair of boots, and mittens,”
Also read: Zeugma : Definition and Examples
Also read: Euphemism: Definition, Features and Examples