The portrayal of physical decay and its constant decline throughout 'Sonnet 73 ' is represented through its structure. The sonnet has three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end; each quatrain seems to symbolizes a stage of deterioration of life. In the first quatrain when Shakespeare references Autumn 'When yellow leaves or none, or few do hang ' there is a sense that the words 'few ' and 'none ' emphasises the feeling of hopelessness just like the seasonal cycle which is inescapable. It highlights the idea that time runs out quickly and that the slow process of ageing begins. For example the change from Summer; which is represented as the height of beauty and excitement; to autumn when leaves fall and become scarce then winter when everything is dead and fragile. Unlike the first quatrain, which shows life despite its connotations of slow degeneration of beauty 'Sweet birds ' and 'yellow leaves...
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...dear to but it also creates an atmosphere of an everlasting love. Just as Shakespeare’s hubris believes love can last forever, there is a sense that he believes that real beauty and love can be preserved from decay through art. 'To love well which thou must leave ere long '. Therefore his poetry reflects that view because as the poetry is being read there is a sense that the extent of his love and his feelings can be viewed and recognised, which means the love he feels and lover are both immortalised by the poetry. Overall the use of seasonal natural imagery to portray the decaying and decline of time and the physical body, emphasizes the fact that it is a natural process to go through and thus it is inevitable that time will run out and beauty will fade however love is the only thing that can be held onto when all else fades like ' the ashes of his youth doth lie.
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