The poet employs parallelism to activate the rhythmic effect of his poem, an effect that meets the pattern of recurrence required for conventional rhythm to function. Parallelism may also be employed to generate a sense of unity and likeness. Poets often use this device to show the relationship that exists between different parts of their poems, as well as to demonstrate the similarity of these parts.
Parallelism can be used to great effect in poetry because the repetition of words or phrases makes them more noticeable and gives the reader or listener a chance to absorb the meaning of the words/phrases being repeated. This is especially true when the repetitions are similar or contrasting- the readers attention is drawn to the words/phrases being repeated instead of the story or idea being told. Using different types of repetition helps create variety within a poem while using same type of repetition helps create unity.
Some examples of parallel structure used by poets include: two lines that begin with identical words or phrases to show the connection between them; three lines that each contain an example of something mentioned previously; four lines that group together like items (e.g., objects, ideas) used throughout the poem; five lines that include every word important to the poem; six lines containing all nouns or pronouns; seven lines ending with adverbs; eight lines containing all adjectives; nine lines with most verbs; and so on.
Parallelism is the fundamental poetic technique in the biblical poetry of Psalms. Parallelism is a type of symmetry in which a concept is developed by repetition, synonyms, amplification, grammatical repetition, or antagonism. The basic form for a Psalm is three lines with an alternating structure of verb-subject-object. There are also fourteenth and fifteenth century copies of poems that include additional stanzas of three lines each.
In the Bible, God is described as being "above" all creation (Gen 1:1; Pss 8:3; 102:15). He is also said to be "without beginning" (Pss 90:2; 103:14) and "eternal" (Pss 9:4; 104:24). These descriptions fit well with one another and with the idea of parallelism, which is used to show the absolute supremacy of God over everything else.
Parallelism is useful in poetry because it gives the reader/hearer insight into the mind of the poet. For example, the use of parallel words or phrases shows that the writers of the Psalms wanted their readers to know that they were very much like God, who is described as having "compared to your beauty" (103:16). They wanted them to know that even though God is beyond our understanding, he is still concerned about us and our lives.
Parallelism is a literary trick in which portions of a phrase have the same or similar grammatical structure. It might be a single word, a phrase, or an entire statement that is repeated. Readers can comprehend the concept more easily since they recognize a pattern and know what to expect. The term comes from Latin para meaning "in place of" or "along with", and relatum which means "another thing corresponding to it". When two things are done at the same time, one after another, they are said to be performed in parallel.
In writing, parallelism is used to create interest by repeating words or phrases or to give a sentence a more formal look. For example, Shakespeare often uses parallel structures to highlight key words within his sentences: "The best part of valour is discretion; in the battle, courage; but to judge rightly of both, judgment is required." (Mental Health: Theory and Practice) Judgement is also used as a synonym for understanding in this case. He also uses parallel structures when explaining different aspects of war: "Wars acquire new names, and new generations re-live the horrors they witnessed before them." (Wars of the Roses).
Shakespeare also uses parallel structures to link ideas within his plays. For example, in Henry V, we learn about the main character's determination through three short sentences that all begin with the word "alas": "Alas, there goes my heart into my mouth.