Most of the 127 sonnets Shakespeare wrote to one of his close male friends are united by the theme of the overwhelming, destructive power of time, and the counterbalancing power of love and poetry to create and preserve beauty. Sonnet 73 is no different, but it does present an intriguing twist on this theme. Most of these sonnets address the youth and beauty of his male friend, as well as poetry's power to immortalize them, but number 73 addresses the author's own mortality and the friend's love for him. Also, subtly woven into this turning inward is a lament that the creative vitality represented by the poems themselves is fading away, along with Shakespeare's own life. Shakespeare seems to mourn most not his own mortality, but the fact that the creation of his love poems must itself one day cease, and this is a "death" more keenly felt by Shakespeare than mere mortality.
As usual, the sonnet breaks into four convenient sections, the three quatrains and the ending couplet. Each segment presents a new image to drive the point home.The first quatrain begins "thou mayst in me behold," then the second "In me thou seest," and the third also "In me thou seest" again. This repetition lends unity to the theme, and helps convey ideas from one segment to the next. What follows in each stanza is a new image of decay and death. The sequence and relationship of these metaphors shows a conscious effort at continuity, showing the death of the creative power in various guises.
The first quatrain uses one of the oldest metaphors for approaching age and imminent death there is, the coming of autumn. A couple of inventive images make th...
... middle of paper ...
...shed" this whole sequence of songs is not just the fire of love, but the fire of the immortalizing power which is creative genius. Shakespeare is writing about the ashes of his own creative "burnout"&emdash;his knowledge that one day he will write no more poems. One day the sweet birds will no longer sing, the creative sun will set and rest.
Yet the last two lines remind us that love will survive even that catastropohe. When he tells his friend that he is "strong/ To love that well, which thou must leave ere long" (13, 14), the antecedent for "that" isn't just Shakespeare himself. Shakespeare is also praising his friend for a love so strong that it will outlive even the one death which strikes Shakespeare himself most to his heart&emdash;the "death" of the poetic sequence which has lifted their friendship to the level of immortalized poetic figures.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Opposing Gender Views in Emerson’s Give All to Love and Browning’s Sonnet 43 The concept of love has long been the preferred topic of conversation among prominent male poets. Towards the closing of the sixteenth century, however, the emerging of the female poet took place. With the introduction of Queen Elizabeth, an initial path was now cleared for future women poets to share their views on the acclaimed topic of love. Due to this clashing of ideas, the conflicting views of two exceedingly different sexes could manifest itself.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
1733 words (5 pages)
- Love is the ubiquitous force that drives all people in life. If people did not want, give, or receive love, they would never experience life because it is the force that completes a person. Although it often seems absent, people constantly strive for this ever-present force as a means of acceptance. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is an influential poet who describes the necessity of love in her book of poems Sonnets from the Portuguese. In her poems, she writes about love based on her relationship with her husband – a relationship shared by a pure, passionate love.... [tags: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43, Sonnet 29]
906 words (2.6 pages)
- The Power of the Sonnet Sonnet 30 tells us that the speaker is a person who has long been stoic, whose tears have for a long time been unused to flow. In the situation sketched in the poem, he begins by deliberately and habitually making these tears flow again; he willingly--for the sake of an enlivened emotional selfhood--calls up the griefs of the past. In receding order, before the weeping "now", there was the "recent" dry-eyed stoicism; "before that," the frequent be-moanèd moan of repeated grief; "further back in the past," the original loss so often mourned; and "in the remote past", a time of achieved happiness, or at lea... [tags: Sonnet essays]
842 words (2.4 pages)
- Life Struggling Against Death in Shakespeare's Sixtieth Sonnet (Sonnet 60) Shakespeare's sixtieth sonnet is probably addressed to the same young, male friend to whom most or all of the earlier sonnets are said to be addressed. The sonnet does not specify this, however, so it could be to anyone or everyone. The theme is certainly universal; time steals human life away, but poetry is immortal. The poet uses diction and imagery to paint a picture of life struggling against death and losing. The speaker of the sonnet tells the audience in the first quatrain that human life is fleeting.... [tags: Sonnet Essays]
971 words (2.8 pages)
- Essay on the Power Hopkins' Sonnet, God's Grandeur As "the world is charged with the grandeur of God," so Gerard Manley Hopkins' sonnet, "God's Grandeur," is charged with language, imagery, sounds and metric patterns that express that grandeur. Through its powerful use of the elements of poetry, the poem explores the power of God and the wonder of nature. "God's Grandeur" is a lyric poem. The tone of the poem is one, naturally, of grandeur, as well as power and wonder. Hopkins' choices of words add to the feeling of grandeur that is the subject of the poem through their powerful imagery, and they express wonder at the power and grandeur of God and the continuity of nature.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
767 words (2.2 pages)
- Metaphors for Death in Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayest in Me Behold" is a sonnet that examines the fears and anxieties that surround growing old and dying -- a topic that resonates within us all. Shakespeare's use of metaphor to illustrate decay and passing are striking, and sets a somber tone throughout. He uses the season of Fall, the coming of night, and the burning out of a flame as metaphors for old age and death, and then uses the last two lines to suggest that we should love and cherish life while we can.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
557 words (1.6 pages)
- An Analysis of Sonnet 64 The formal structure of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64 is largely reinforced by the logical and syntactical structure; each of the three quatrains begins with the same extended conditional "When I have seen" clause and contains the completion of the thought expressed by the clause. However, the first quatrain also contains a second conditional "When" clause (lines 3-4), and the last two lines of the third quatrain introduce the "That" result clause for all the foregoing lines.... [tags: Sonnet 64]
1350 words (3.9 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 65 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower. Oh how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wrackful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays. Oh fearful meditation. where, alack, Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid. Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
521 words (1.5 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 55 Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time. When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory. 'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
650 words (1.9 pages)
- Analysis of Sonnet 64 When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd The rich proud cost of outworn buried age; When sometime lofty towers I see down raz'd, And brass eternal slave to mortal rage; When I have seen the hungry ocean gain Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, And the firm soil win of the watery main, Increasing store with loss and loss with store: When I have seen such interchange of state, Or state itself confounded to decay, Ruin hath tought me thus to ruminate- That Time will come and take my love away.... [tags: Sonnet essays]
572 words (1.6 pages)