What are the poetic devices used in the poem "Seven Ages of Man?"

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tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" is an analogy of the different phases of life that a man goes through during a lifetime. The use of imagery, metaphor and simile are the strongest figures of speech used to drive home the message of the passage. He starts out with describing the common actions and conditions in which we all find ourselves as a baby who is dependent on a mother figure, then he moves on to describe what each stage thereafter looks and acts like in its own time thereby making his way to the end of a person's life. Some examples of figures of speech used include, "the whining school boy," then, "Sighing like a furnace," "Bearded like the pard," "round belly," "beard of formal cut," "and his big manly voice,/ Turning again towards childish treble," all discuss by simile and metaphor the phases of a man's life.  It all ends with the man in a "second" childhood by the time he is old and loses everything from his teeth, to sight, to taste and everything else.

The timeline is organized in a way that the audience may follow easily through the passage of a man's life; and, he uses the rhythm of iambic pentameter, but the structure is not limited to ten syllables of stressed and unstressed accents.


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yohayoha's profile pic

yohayoha | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

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"all the worlds a stage" metaphor

"and all the men and women merely players" metaphor

"even in the cannon's mouth" personification

"for his shrunk shrank" alliteration