What literary devices are used in William Shakespeare's Hamlet in Act 2, Scene 2 lines 170-214?
In William Shakespeare's Hamlet in Act 2, Scene 2 lines 170-214, Hamlet is having a conversation with Polonius, father of Ophelia, in which Hamlet is pretending to be insane. Polonius thinks that the reason for this insanity may be that Hamlet is deeply in love with Ophelia and suffering lovesickness.
Both Hamlet and Polonious are engaging in forms of duplicity, making indirect statements rather than direct ones, a rhetorical device known as "insinuation." Hamlet's description of an honest man as "one man picked out of ten thousand" is a form of hyperbole, or exaggeration. Hamlet frequently interrupts himself or changes direction in mid-sentence, a device know as anacolouthon, as in:
For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,
being a god kissing carrion,--Have you a daughter?
In attributing the slanders directed at old men to his reading, Hamlet simultaneously insults Polonius while claiming to be refraining from doing so, a device known as praeteritio.
In describing old men's eyes as "purging thick amber," Hamlet is using a metaphor, a comparison that does not use the explicit comparative terms "like" or "as." The overall extended description of old men is a form of ekphrasis, or vivid description.
Lines 185-190 are an aside, in which Polonius is speaking to himself rather than Hamlet.