Literary devices in the words of Smaug (The Hobbit)


Hi there,

First I want to say this one of the best sites I ever found. I love it. I have some questions about the beautiful language of the character Smaug. Smaug is the dragon in the movie The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug (2013), based on Tolkien’s book The Hobbit from 1937. Can you help me to identify them?

1.) Smaug: “I laid low your warriors of old. I instill terror in the hearts of men. I am King under the Mountain!” Also: “My teeth are swords! My claws are spears! My wings are a hurricane!”

I see three literary devices I think. Anaphoras, metaphores and maybe Expletives? Anything else to say about the rythm in these two sentences?
Btw what kind of device is ‘warriors of old’? Or is it just poetic or old fashioned language?

2.)  Smaug: “You have nice manners for a thief… and a LIAR

What kind of device does the word ‘and’ make in this particular sentence? I think there was a name for a device for it would continue with words like “.. and a barrel rider and a traitor and dwarf spy”

3.) Smaug: “I am almost tempted to let you take it, if only to see Oakenshield suffer, watch it destroy him, watch it corrupt his heart and drive him mad… But I think not. I think our little game ends here!”

What do the words suffer, destroy, corrupt and hart form? An Accumulation maybe?

The dialogues can be seen on Youtube: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

Thank you in advance



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Here we have the answers of your questions:

Answer 1:

Yeah, anaphoras, metaphors but not expletives because an expletive is a grammatical construction that begins a sentence with the words such as “there, here and it”, etc and here we don’t see such use.

Well, ‘warriors of old’ does not use any literary device and I think it is just an old fashioned language.

Answer 2: 

This is called ellipsis that omits some parts of a sentence and uses periods as “…” Its purpose is to cut the long texts short and let the readers think about incomplete thought.

Answer 3:

Yes, it has used accumulation and also you can see anaphora, a repetition occurs at the start of the clauses like “watch it.”

You are welcome!