11

Here is a line from the song "Popular" in the musical Wicked. I am trying to explain what we call the anticlimax of the last three lines, where a rhyme is expected but not delivered.

When I see depressing creatures/ With unprepossessing features/ I remind them on their own behalf/ To think of/ Celebrated heads of state or/ Specially great communicators/ Did they have brains or knowledge?/ Don't make me laugh!He,he!/ They were popular!

Is there a term for the rhyme scheme where we (arguably) expect knowledge to be rhymed with "college"?

Another example:

Roses are red/Violets are blue/Sugar is sweet/And so am I

The comedic effect of that poem is in the anticlimax of the final line. Is there a term for that anticlimax created from an unmade rhyme?

9
  • 1
    Keep your feet off the grass Shine your shoes, wipe your...face youtube.com/watch?v=k6qcBQoK7uI&t=0m12s
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 15:23
  • 1
    "I am just a poor boy. / Though my story's seldom told, / I have squandered my resistance / For a pocketful of mumbles" — Paul Simon Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 15:30
  • 1
    Roses are red / Violets are blue / Some poems rhyme / But this one doesn't.
    – livresque
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 17:11
  • 1
    @mplungjan I think the Shrek example is a little different. You're supposed to expect a specific word, not just the rhyme. The rhyme is a tool to misdirect the audience to precisely that word. Maybe it's a matter of degrees, but I see it as a different end product.
    – kojiro
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 20:52
  • 1
    Right. So a climax that is not even close to what was expected.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 5:19

1 Answer 1

20

It's a subverted rhyme.

I hesitate to cite TV Tropes directly but the term has also appeared in ELU.

2
  • HA! My example is the first in the link's Animated section - I should have searched with it shine your shoes off the grass wipe your face shrek rhyme found your link
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 15:35
  • 2
    +1 for correct term, +1 for link to alternate discussion in ELU, -1 for ruining the rest of my day with a link to TVTropes. Net +1, but still.... grr. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 16:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.