Shakespeare's Sonnet 55 is highly rhetorical, the conventional boast of the confident poet that his work is destined for immortality. As befits this theme, the poem is full of literary devices. Alliteration is the most common throughout the poem: "marble" and "monuments" in line 1, "princes" and "powerful" in line 2, "shall shine" in line 3, and there are various other examples throughout the poem. Line 4 contains the particular variety of alliteration known as sibilance, the repetition of the letter s.
Personification is also an important feature of the poem. Time is "sluttish" (which means untidy or unkempt), and Mars, the Roman god of war, stands for war, as well as alongside war, in a complicated figure of speech:
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
"Mars his sword" was a way of expressing possession (i.e., Mars's sword) that was becoming archaic even at the end of the sixteenth century. The idea expressed here is that neither Mars's sword nor...
(The entire section contains 4 answers and 815 words.)