Explain one simile in the poem "The Seven Ages of Man."

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two different things using the words "like" or "as." Jacques, the speaker, uses several similes throughout the speech "The Seven Ages of Man" to compare various stages of man's life to different things. Discussing the second stage of man's life, the speaker uses a simile when he compares a whining schoolboy reluctantly walking to class to a snail ("creeping like a snail"). Just as a snail moves slowly, the disgruntled boy reluctantly walks to school. In the third stage of man's life, the adolescent male is "sighing like furnace," which expresses the hot passions of young love. Discussing the fourth stage of man's life, the speaker uses a simile to describe a soldier's facial features by writing that it is "bearded like a pard." A "pard" is an old word for a leopard. Shakespeare is essentially saying that the young solider's beard is patchy and spotted like a leopard's coat. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are at least one or two similes from this poem that are quite easily understood.  They have to do with the second and third ages of man in Shakespeare's poem.

The first has to do with the schoolboy "creeping like snail."  The simile means that the boy is going very slowly.  He is going very slowly to school because he would rather be somewhere else.  In this age of life, the boy's life centers around having to do things he does not want to do.

The second has to do with the lover "sighing like funace."  This is meant to show how a young man at that age is as hot with passion as a furnace is with actual fire.

lit24 | Student

A 'simile' is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared. A simile is usually introduced by 'like' or 'as.'

In Shakespeare's "As You Like It" Act II Sc.7 we have Jaques' famous speech on the 'seven ages of man.'

In the second 'age' Jaques remarks that the school boy who would rather enjoy playing with his friends than going to school is portrayed going to school very reluctantly and slowly. His slowness in going  to school is compared to the speed of a snail which proverbially moves very very slowly.