Shakespeare utilizes a number of literary devices in this poem, which is concerned with the inevitable passage of time. He makes particular use of metaphor
in order to convey his theme.
For example, in the opening line he invokes a metaphorical "clock" which ticks out the passage of time in terms of human (and other) lives. In the final stanza, he uses a different image to depict Time, personifying him as a creature carrying a metaphorical "scythe" with which he cuts down everything that lives, and against whom we can have no defense.
Shakespeare emphasizes the universal quality of Time's power over the beings of earth by also ascribing human-like qualities to non-human entities, such as "brave day" which is overtaken by "hideous night," and "lofty trees" which are "barren" of leaves due to the fact that time has turned summer into winter. Shakespeare's imagery pertains to flowers and trees inevitably dying away; he parallels these with the "beauty" of the person he is...
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