What are some examples of figures of speech in Shakespeare's Sonnet 14?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Shakespeare's Sonnet 14, some of the literary devices are as follows.

In line one, a metaphor is used whereby the speaker is like a farmer, plucking fruit (judgment) from an orchard (the stars). This gives the sense that the author picks from the heavens, as one would fruit.

Line two, "methinks I have astronomy," has metonymy:

Using a vaguely suggestive, physical object to embody a more general idea

The speaker intimates that he has a knowledge as of the heavens, referring to it in general terms as "astronomy." This follows the idea that some are able to read the heavens.

The next section is paradoxical in that having said he has astronomy, the speaker contradicts this with a list of the things he does not have, which would be ascribed to astronomers of the time:

He cannot tell of good or bad luck; or of outbreaks of plague or the kind of season will come ("harsh" winter, etc.), nor the future ("fortunes"), or the weather or how successful a prince might be. The speaker admits that in being an...

(The entire section contains 589 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team