Ever-changing and ephemeral, life expands beyond human existence and transcends time. Human beings remain subject to the inexorable process of growth from nascency to death. Life’s universally unavoidable progression clandestinely erodes one’s youth as time unsympathetically moves onward. Historically renowned poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, addresses this evolutionary truth through his fifteenth sonnet. This explication demonstrates how Shakespeare asseverates youth’s preciousness and fragility through metaphors, similes, imagery, and rhyme in an attempt to immortalize and illustrate the beauty of a young man in his prime.
Once the curtains of life’s performance open at birth, the vibrant, blossoming nature of one’s youth begins to diminish and decay. In his fifteenth sonnet, Shakespeare addresses the pinnacle of this lifecycle, a short-lived and underappreciated peak in the maturation process, and considers how all living things inevitably mutate and grow over time. The poet first employs metaphoric language to provoke the reader to acknowledge the mortality of life. For instance, Shakespeare states: “When I consider everything that grows” (Shakespeare, line 1). This notion that all existing, living organisms continually grow begins the sonnet and introduces the themes of life, death, and the process between the two. The following line, “Holds in perfection but a little moment,” (Shakespeare, line 2) illustrates to the reader the brief, fleeting moment in time in which a life reaches its peak form. In other words, as one ages, Shakespeare argues, his or her youth achieves a maximum time of physical and mental perfection. Additionally...
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The acknowledgement of life’s fragility and short duration extends beyond Shakespeare’s fifteenth sonnet. Although the poem is, in theory, written specifically to one person, the lessons within the lines hold invaluable truths. To Shakespeare, youth is seen as the pinnacle of your life time. In reality this peak of youthful beauty is only a slight moment of perfection. Before one notices, time erodes his or her youth. Shakespeare elaborates on the beauty and inevitable decay of youth through style, technique, and structure. The poet then concludes written word prolongs, or potentially revitalizes, one’s youth. The ideas Shakespeare skillfully addresses apply to everyone and are even reiterated in modern, pop culture. Remember Ferris Bueller’s famous suggestion, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don 't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
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