Choose two metaphors from the poem "The Character of a Happy Life" and explain them.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The metaphors used by Wotton in his poem help to illuminate different ways of expressing personal happiness.  One such metaphor can be found in lines 7 and 8, when the poet uses the idea of being free of attachments in comparison to a "prince's grace or vulgar breath."  In seeking to illuminate both extremes, the speak is wishing to bring forth the idea that individuals must find contentment in a realm that is "untied" to either domain and that the truly happy individual will not be linked to the stately powers of royalty or the vulgarity of debasing oneself.  True happiness is found in a realm which is evoked through such comparative language.  Another metaphor used in the poem lies in the line three, where the poem compares honesty in thought to "armor," implying that the temptation to succumb to deception and inauthenticity are around the individual and only the commitment and will to rise above through use of a protective element, like a "shield," composed of honesty would be the only way one can overcome such elements and discover a realm of happiness.

habuy2k | Student

The two metaphors I chose are from lines three and four.  "His armour is his honest thought" means that this character is an honest person and his honesty protects him from a dishonest and self-seeking world. He wears and carries his armour so that he can distinguish himself from those who work for rich and the rich themselves.

The second metaphor "Simple truth his utmost skill" refers to his ability to make the truth a simple reality.  This allows him to break down would be barriers because the truth is always the best remedy for any situation.  These two metaphors point to a man who is honest above all else, and someone who is not afraid to lose something because of the truth.

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Character of a Happy Life

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