Comparing and Contrasting Two Poems

June 6, 2010
By , Battle Ground, WA
Have you ever thought about the ways that certain poems make you feel? Each poem has its own unique characteristics and yet there are certain similarities that can be seen when comparing two different poems. Two poems may have different uses of poetry elements, but the feelings that are felt by the reader through these elements may be quite similar. “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” use different forms of imagery, but they are similar in how they use metaphors, personification, alliteration, tone, and similes.
First of all, “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” are different in that “Daily” portrays negative imagery, while “The Seven Ages of Man” portrays positive imagery. Each of these poems uses only visual imagery and yet the visual imagery that is shared differs in each poem. For example, in “The Seven Ages of Man” one form of imagery that is stated is, “With eyes severe and beard of formal cut.” (Shakespeare 17) This form of imagery shows that the author took time to show this person to be quite handsome, which gives the reader a positive feeling. In “Daily,” one form of imagery shows, “shriveled seeds.” (Nye 1) This form of imagery gives the reader a depressed feeling, which can be seen as a negative feeling. Therefore, these poems each differ in the author’s use of imagery.

Secondly, “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” are similar in the feelings portrayed through the similes used in each. Both poems portray a sense of mystery. In “The Seven Ages of Man” some of the similes are, “creeping like a snail” (Shakespeare 8) and “sighing like a furnace.” (Shakespeare 10) Both of these similes give the reader a strange and eerie feeling. In “Daily” one of the similes is “balances like a cloud.” (Nye 14) This statement gives the reader a strange and odd feeling as well. Therefore, both of these poems are similar in how they make the reader feel.

Thirdly, “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” are similar in that the tone of each poem has some negative feeling to it. In “The Seven Ages of Man,” one line states, “Is second childishness and mere oblivion.” (Shakespeare 27) This makes the tone of the poem seem somber and a bit melancholy. It gives the reader a negative feeling. In “Daily” one of lines states, “This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again.” (Nye 18) The tone of the poem portrays that the author is suffering from “daily” boredom with a never changing schedule. This tone also gives the reader a negative feeling. In conclusion, the tone of each poem does not exactly make the reader feel good.

Fourth, “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” both use Metaphors to show how the authors view the world in a negative light. For instance, in “The Seven Ages of Man,” during the first and second lines have an extended metaphor, saying, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;” (Shakespeare 1-2) In this metaphor, the author is showing the seven ages that he refers to as acts in a play, which gives the reader a negative feeling of insignificance. “Daily” has a metaphor that states, “center of the sky.” (Nye 15) This metaphor also makes the reader feel strangely insignificant and small compared to the sky, which is a negative feeling. The metaphors used in both of these poems portray negative feelings due to insignificance.
Fifth, “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” use personification that compares a person with an object, which can have a negative or a positive effect on the reader. This is basically reversed compared to usual personification, which is an object with human characteristics. In “The Seven Ages of Man” they use personification to describe an older man, saying, “bearded like the pard.” (Shakespeare 12) This is obviously supposed to mean he has a face as hairy as a leopard, which is a form of negative personification. “Daily” also uses an object and a human feature, like “The hands are churches that worship the world.” (Nye 22) This shows that she regards her hands like they were churches, which gives the reader a negative feeling as well. Both “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” show unique forms of personification, in the fact that they show a human characteristic as another object giving the reader a feeling that isn’t exactly positive.
Finally, alliteration is used in many forms in both “The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” and both forms of alliteration give the reader a bad feeling. Some of the forms are simple ones, like “shriveled seeds” (Nye 1) from “Daily.” This alliteration is a depressing statement, giving the reader a negative feeling. But in some cases, they use an elongated form of alliteration. This is shown as “plays his part” (Shakespeare 19) from “The Seven Ages of Man.” This statement gives the reader a negative feeling as well. Therefore, you can see that both of these poems use alliteration in a way that is not always pleasing to the reader.
“The Seven Ages of Man” and “Daily” are both unique in their own ways and yet through further study it can be noticed that the feeling given to the reader through reading each poem is extremely similar. The only way that these poems are noticeably different is in how each author uses imagery. The metaphors, personifications, alliterations, tones, and similes portrayed in the poems are all similar in the feelings that are given to the reader. Therefore, never judge a poem by its title or story without furthering your examination of the feelings given through reading the poem several times.









Works Cited List
1.
Shakespeare, William. "The Seven Ages of Man." Elements of Literature Third Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2003. Print.
2.
Nye, Naomi Shihab. "Daily." Elements of Literature Third Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2003. Print.





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