What is Assonance? Definition & Examples from Film & Literature


Definition: Assonance is a literary device where vowel sounds are repeated in nearby words. It is often used to create a particular mood or to emphasize certain sounds and themes within a piece of writing.

In film, assonance is used in dialogue and soundtrack lyrics to create a lyrical, harmonious quality that enhances a scene’s emotional resonance and aesthetic appeal, subtly influencing the viewer’s emotional response and engagement with the narrative.

Unlike rhyme, where the sounds must occur at the end of words, assonance can happen anywhere within the words. This technique is common across poetry, prose, and song lyrics, adding musicality and rhythm to the text.

Examples of Assonance in Movie Scripts

Here are some examples of assonance in screenplays.

“The Godfather” (1972)

Screenplay: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Explanation: In this iconic line, the assonance can be found in the long “o” sound in “gonna” and “offer.” This subtle repetition contributes to the memorability and rhythm of the line, giving it a smooth, persuasive quality that mirrors the character’s intention.

“Casablanca” (1942)

Screenplay: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Explanation: The assonance in this memorable quote lies in the repetition of the “oo” sound in “looking” and “you.” This repetition of sound creates a soft, intimate atmosphere, reflecting the moment’s tenderness. The assonance helps to underscore the emotional depth of the scene, making the line more impactful and resonant with audiences.

“Thelma & Louise” (1991)

Screenplay: Callie Khouri

“You said you ‘n’ me was gonna get out of town and for once just really let our hair down. Well darlin’, look out ’cause my hair is comin’ down!”

Explanation: This quote is rich with assonance. The repetition of the “ou” sound in “out,” “town,” “our,” “down,” and “out” creates a sense of movement and freedom, mirroring the themes of the film.

The use of assonance here adds to the playful yet determined tone of the dialogue, emphasizing the characters’ desire for freedom.

Examples of Assonance in Literature

Here are some examples of Assonance in Literature

“The Great Gatsby” (Novel & Movie adaptation).

Author: Scott Fitzgerald.

Screenplay (for the 2013 film): Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce

“Her voice is full of money”

Explanation: The repetition of the “o” sound in “voice” and “money” links the two words, underscoring the theme of wealth and materialism central to the novel.

“The Raven” (Poem)

Author: Edgar Allan Poe

“And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”

Explanation: In this line, the repetition of the “ur” sound in “purple” and “curtain” creates a soft, eerie atmosphere, contributing to the poem’s overall mood of melancholy and mystery.

“Kubla Khan” (Poem)

Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea.”

Explanation: The repetition of the “a” sound in “sacred,” “ran,” “caverns,” “man,” and “sea” creates a flowing, rhythmic quality that mirrors the movement of the river is described.


Assonance in literature and film enriches the auditory experience, creating a musicality that enhances emotional resonance and thematic depth.

It subtly influences the audience’s perception, weaving a tapestry of sound that elevates storytelling, making narratives more memorable and engaging.

Up Next: What Is Anaphora in Film?


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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