Essay about Age and Youth by William Shakespeare

Essay about Age and Youth by William Shakespeare

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Age and Youth by William Shakespeare

The poem "age and youth", by William Shakespeare (born April 26th 1564 – died April 23rd 1616) is one of his profound poems which was published in 1588. It is apart of a collection of numerous poems in "The Passionate Pilgrim", ‘Age and Youth being numeral XII. These various poems centre on the ideas of the early and late stages in life. More notably however his one sided perception on the two topics. "Youth" is cast as being the more favourable and several lines throughout the poem display this bias. "Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold". "Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare" In fact the whole poem centers around the aforementioned topic (youth) being the more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing than barren and cold "old age".

Shakespeare's themes in this particular poem are not unlike many of the others in "The passionate pilgrim", the set of poems from which "age and youth" originates, with conventional themes such as love and beauty and the related motifs of time and mutability. Being a "continuation" of the previous poems in "The Passionate Pilgrim" it connects with his theme of addressing love and praise not to a woman but instead to a young man full of youth and vitality.

"Venus, with young Adonis sitting by her
Under a myrtle shade, began to woo him"
The passionate pilgrim XI

"My better angel is a man right fair"
The passionate pilgrim II

However "youth and age" is focused primarily on the topics previously stated (youth and age) but with respect to the young man in the previous poems of "The Passionate Pilgrim". In effect the young man is immortalised by the poem thereby defying the destructiveness of time. This is one of the reasons behind this ...


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.... "Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee". It is uplifting and gives the mood a somewhat flavour due to the alliteration being used.

In brief the most focal and constant theme in the poem is the unwillingness to become old and the negative aspects of old age. "Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee". Youth is so vibrant and lively, a stark comparison to old age, an idea which Shakespeare stubbornly holds on to. "Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee". The melancholic mood of the poem expresses Shakespeare's thoughtful sadness on growing old and the inevitability life and death. The poetic techniques effectively contrast how wonderful youth is and how lackluster and bleak we become as we get older. "Youth" is consistently depicted as being that of a young person with "age" being that of an old "lame" nearly dying man," ages breath is short".

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