The Destruction of Sennacherib by George Gordon, Lord Byron

1. With garments described as “gleaming in purple and gold,” the “cohorts” are most likely tomembers of what class?
Purple and gold are symbols of royalty and power, so one may infer that the cohorts were members of the ruling class.

2. What does the speaker use to show the passage of time?
The speaker makes allusions and metaphors using the four seasons to show the passage of time.

The Destruction of Sennacherib

3. In addition to strength, what did the army that won this battle have on its side?
In the third stanza, the reader is told “the Angel of Death” is on the army’s side, breathing its deadly breath on their foe as they passed.

4. What do you think is the purpose of the fourth and fifth stanzas?
Answers may vary. Example: Both of these stanzas describe the carnage left after the battle between the two armies. Words like “foam,” “gasping,” “distorted,” and “pale” reinforce the violence of the battle, and the resulting aftermath.

5. According to the speaker, who was ultimately responsible for the destruction of Sennacherib?
After the speaker describes the widows wailing and the destruction of the idols in Baal, he tells that the Gentiles went “unsmote by the sword” thanks the power given to them by the Lord.

6. The poet’s mentioning of an Assyrian, the Gentile, Ashur, the temple of Baal, and the Sea of Galilee is an example of what literary device?
The sites and characters are allusions to biblical narratives and tales.


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