Language is a writer’s basic toolkit. Writers — novelists, playwrights, poets, lyricists, and all the rest — use words to trigger emotional responses or to paint pictures in the minds of their readers and listeners.
How can we fail to see layers of meaning in creations like these?
- the wine-dark sea (Homer, Ancient Greece)
- sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care (Shakespeare: Macbeth, 1606)
- nursing her wrath to keep it warm (Robert Burns: Tam O’Shanter, 1790)
- moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black (Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood, 1954)