beat beat drums
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The most striking element of "Beat! Beat! Drums!" is its rhythm, demonstrating that free verse, when done well, carefully crafts its rhythm to imitate the sounds of life. In this instance, Whitman imitates the orderly beat of a drum and the rhythmic cadence of an army on the march. Whitman uses paradox to emphasize the chaos of war: "No sleepers must sleep" , "No bargainers' bargain" no talkers are talking, no lawyers "rise in the court to state his case before the judge" . In short, war creates chaos and upsets the natural order of things.
Whitman uses metonymy: the beating of drums and the blowing of bugles represents something with which it is closely associated, a marching army.
.He also uses synecdoche, the marching army represents military forces engaged in war; the individuals lawyers, farmers, etc. represent citizens whose lives are disrupted by war.
.Theme: war disrupts all.