Shakespeare's Use Of Figurative Language

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Figurative Language is arguably one of the most important tools in English Literature. By altering the literal meaning of some words or creating comparisons, poets and authors can help readers visualize what they are trying to convey (Leddy Turner) as well as richening the content and context of their masterpiece. In Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” and Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, both poets used numerous types of figurative language, such as allusion, metaphor, personification and the like to express their respective themes. The powerful effect created by such language not only highlighted their message, but also led them to become some of the most analyzed and most popular literary works to date.
In both poems,
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In Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress”, the poet mainly relies on illustrating the here the “worms shall try that long preserved virginity” (27, 28)
One distinctive figurative language used in Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress”, which is not found in Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, is the extensive use of hyperbole. Marvell expresses, in vivid detail, how he would love and adore every part of his mistress. He states explicitly that he will spend “a hundred years” (13) to praise “thine eyes and thy forehead gaze”. (14) In addition, he will use “two hundred [years] to adore each breast” (15) and using “thirty thousand [years]” to treasure “the rest” (16). This gross exaggeration of fact is not found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. In using this overstatement in language, Marvell highlighted how he would adore each and every bit of his mistress over a very long period of time. By overstating his love for his lover, he is echoing the shocking effect produced when using imagery. The hyperbole as well as the shocking imagery used correspond to the fact that Marvell is a metaphysical poet. Metaphysical poetry is often characterized by its “striking use of wit” as well as its seemingly far - fetched imagery. (Studying the Metaphysical Poets) With the use of imagery combined with the hyperbole, the shocking effect can be further heightened. When reading
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