In the first example, we find three stressed-syllable alliterations (and a fourth unstressed) in one line:
Thirdly, in a triple alliteration on consecutive words, one of the alliterations is an unstressed syllable in the middle:
In another example, we find two pairs of alliterations on stressed syllables in one line, with a third pair if one counts the unstressed and stressed can come (though one might read it as a spondee) and with an echo from devil to evil:
Enhanced by the alliteration from the first line, it may link the terminal words of two lines of verse and create a near rhyme.
But in more complex passages, Shakespeare uses sets of alliterative consonance to overlap, spread out over several lines, as in the following, where repeated words and alliteration echo throughout and emphasize the consonance of sound and sense:
Those reverberations find in this scene a general counterpart in a particularly rich echoic language enhanced by alliterative consonance, some near alliterative consonance, and normal alliteration.
2, in a single line, the king links the noble captain's words and deeds through a triple alliteration and an alliterative consonance.
As Macbeth's life is linked to his dearest partner in greatness, so his speech is linked to hers by alliteration and alliterative consonance as well as by rhyme:
The acoustic features of the autobiography's English moiety, Speak, Memory and its antecedent texts, are highly diverse in form and function, but for the preliminary purposes of this essay, they may be assigned to the category of alliteration, with subsidiary instances of assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, and paronomasia.
For example, the weak alliteration of "bitter little embryos spying upon the love life of their parents" (NY) is brought out much more forcefully in the new versions by the addition of "natural nooks," which not only draws attention to itself but also compels a different reading of its immediate context, even to the point of rejuvenating the "dead alliteration" of the cliche "love life": "bitter little embryos spying, from their natural nooks, upon the love life of their parents" (CE, SM).
Another feature of Nabokov's alliteration is his frequent use of what might be called "suballiterative echoing": his combination of voiced consonants with their voiceless counterparts, and vice versa.
Yet another feature of Nabokov's alliteration is the variety of its grammatical and lexical distribution.
But if alliteration is an essential part of the meaning of Speak, Memory, then what exactly are its semantic and rhetorical functions?
Among the examples of alliteration listed above are a few fairly self-contained items that illustrate many of these rhetorical and semantic conditions at once, and that, because of their unusually successful marriage of sound and meaning, may be discussed independently of their contexts.
The other example of alliteration is perhaps not so involved as the one just discussed, but it does typify certain aspects of acoustic manipulation that are important to Nabokov.