Paronomasia: Wordplay based on like-sounding words, e.g., a pun.
Rhetoricians from Aristotle onward are mostly cautious about paronomasia, chiefly about its overuse, while noting its effectiveness when used appropriately…Overuse is a question of competence, but status is simply a question of *taste and fashion, which may vary from one era to another. (Greene, Cushman, 2012, pg. 1003-1004)
Poets in the 19th c. made little use of paronomasia compared with their 17th-c. predecessors, though some enjoyed it in prose writing (S. T. Coleridge, Charles Lamb). Among major poets, Emily Dickinson and G. M. Hopkins are exceptions. In general, the 19th c. assigned it to comic verse (Thomas Hood, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, W. S. Gilbert). Modernist poets (e.g., T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens) used paronomasia for serious effects…but it is still a question whether paronomasia has regained its earlier status as a figure, lost when 18th-c rhet. downgraded the pun. (Greene, Cushman, 2012, pg. 1004)
The Hebrew Bible uses it (Moses means both one “drawn out” of the water [Heb. mosheh] and one who “draws out” Israel from bondage [Heb. mashah]); so does the Christian Bible (Jesus puns on the name Peter and petra, rock, Matt 16:18)…Shakespeare is fertile in the deployment of paronomasia for both comic and serious effects. Mercutio’s dying pun is well known; tomorrow he will be “a grave man” (Romeo and Juliet 3.1.98); Hamlet puns on “sun” and “son” (Hamlet 1.2.64 and 67)…Limericks delight in outrageous witty puns. (Greene, Cushman, 2012, pg. 1004)