Shakespeares Sonnets

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Shakespeares Sonnets

The survived works of one of the greatest British poets and playwrights include three epitaphs, four poems, 154 sonnets, and 38 plays. William Shakespeare was a universal person. Moreover, he was a man of his century. As a result, he depicted contemporary beliefs and ideas that had been significantly impacted by Renaissance humanism and new scientific explorations such as the discovery of the New World. William Shakespeare extolled beauty, life, and love in his works. However, he focused specifically on the notion of time. The author contemplated the power of time making it a leitmotif of 126 sonnets. He dedicated them to the Fair Youth, although the theme remains during the whole sequence of the sonnets. In the Fair Youth, the word time appears seventy times, while the author does not mention it in the following 26 poems of the Dark Lady sequence (Moreira 250). There are 22 sonnets where time has a destructive effect on the surrounding. It is vividly portrayed during the thinking of a bard about his age. The poet was interested in time because it had the absolute power over beauty, life, and love. He considers the ravaging nature of time in a great number of his sonnets dedicated to the Fair Youth.

Sonnet 5

First, the main theme of the first seventeen sonnets is procreation, but the concern about time is already raised in these poems (Moreira 250). For example, in Sonnet 5, the poet calls time a tyrant: Those hours… Will play the tyrants to the very same (Shakespeare, 9). Therefore, this sonnet describes the creation of time. The first quatrain addresses its influence on the beauty of youth. For instance, the poet says that time makes youth beautiful, but it destroys this beauty when old age is approaching. Therefore, he shows that time influences enormously the beauty of youth affecting it directly on the days of old age. As a result, the first quatrain of the Sonnet 5 defines the destructive effects of time on the beauty of youth.

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Furthermore, the second quatrain highlights the tyranny of time, which cannot be overthrown. The author compares the development of peoples lives with the seasons of a year. For instance, Shakespeare states that for never-resting time leads summer on to hideous winter, and confounds him there (Shakespeare 9) describing winter as an unpleasant and ugly character. For example, the author mentions that sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone (Shakespeare 9) highlighting that winter destroys everything beautiful created by summer. Obviously, Shakespeare compares the work of time with the work of nature that changes seasons producing the destructive effects on everything beautiful created during summer.

In the final quatrain, the poet reminds the youth that the beauty of summer remains in flowers usually used as perfume. For example, beauty’s effect with beauty were bereft (Shakespeare 9). The author claims that time only gives a brief moment of glory to the youth. Moreover, he says that nor it, nor no remembrance what it was (Shakespeare 9) specifying that nothing reminds about the faded beauty. Unfortunately, sweet perfumes are the only left memories which remind the summers beauty. However, they are not so strong because time completely destroys a genuine aroma of life. In Sonnet 5, the author stresses the inevitable aging which leads to the profound transformations. However, he also gives hope that the seeds could grow in spring because their substance still lives sweet (Shakespeare 9).

Sonnet 12

Undoubtedly, one of the most famous Shakespeares sonnets is Sonnet 12, where the poet describes the effects of time on nature. He highlights the importance of procreation as a mean to face the inevitable destruction caused by time. The first two lines define the transformation of day into night. While describing the process, the poet uses word hideous: When I do count the clock that tells the time, and see the brave day sunk in hideous night (Shakespeare 13). This word was also used in Sonnet 5 during the description of winter in the 6th line. The first line of Sonnet 12 highlights that a human being cannot do anything to influence the hours because the clock tells the time. Moreover, what people can do is to simply count these hours which have been already predetermined by the clocks. Besides, the author alludes to the idea that a clock is a mediator between a person and time. He believes that a human being can influence neither a clock nor time (Moreira 251). This fact proves that people cannot change inevitable destruction made by time. Thus, they only have to accept it.

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The poet also uses stylistic devices to represent the connection between the concepts and their functions. Shakespeare uses alliteration of tin words time and tells and of k in clock and count. This sound technique creates the specific rhythm of the sonnet, although each line can be perceived separately as well. The author intensifies the feeling of despair caused by the inevitable transformation of summer into winter, which turns beauty into lifeless death. He points that everything is doomed to die in the end. For instance, the poet says: I see barren of leaves (Shakespeare 13) which lost their colors because of winter. Shakespeare claims that people are not able to change the effects of time, even if they have a strong will to remain alive. The only hope is that the future generations could continue a cycle of life and save from oblivion.

Additionally, the final quatrain focuses on the issue of permanence of youth beauty because it dies and disappears under the impact of time. For example, the author says that sweets and beauties do themselves forsake and die as fast as they see others grow (Shakespeare 13). Furthermore, the line conveys the message that everything is constantly changing. The decay is one of the integral parts of times presence in life. Finally, the poet tells that the only way to protect people from time is to defend procreation: And nothing gainst Times scythe can make defence / Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. Consequently, the author provides the evidence that time will destroy everything that lives now, but he gives hope mentioning that the only way to keep a life is to give birth.

Sonnet 55

Sonnet 55 celebrates the power of words which will remain compared to the monuments built by authorities and destroyed by time. The sonnet starts with a formidable line: Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme (Shakespeare 34). The poet highlights the power of written words. Another example of the inferiority of materialistic achievements is the fourth line which describes unwept stone that symbolizes how easily the monuments are destroyed. This evidence tells that gravestones dust appears from the death. Moreover, Shakespeare believes that long wars and massive destructions cannot eliminate poems, although they can damage statues. In other words, internal and external wars are whose architects who ruin ancient monuments but preserve eternal poetry. The ninth line defines oblivious enmity as a force which equals death (Bergmann 65). Despite the aftermath of ignorant hatred, a young man will continue to live in the poetry. Shakespeare questions the achievement of human beings. He doubts personal self-worth. However, he is confident that his friend that has been portrayed so elegantly in the sonnet will survive. According to Shakespeare, time is a phenomenon which destroys everything from the material world. In fact, even the most powerful people lose their authority after death, but written poetry will live forever.



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Sonnet 60

Sonnet 60 describes time as a cyclical and permanent movement. Shakespeare compares it with the waves that move towards shore expressing the feeling of loss. For example, the author says: Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end (Shakespeare 37). The image of waves recalls the feeling of the constant process of destruction. Even though the pebbles are firm, the sea moves them with the waves. Moreover, they will inevitably turn into sand, but then new pebbles will appear to repeat this process. This cycle highlights that time cannot leave everything in its initial form, but it can destroy and devastate. By comparing the movement of time with the permanent movement of waves, the poet recreates the essence of time, which is an unresolved conflict with nature. In the second line of the sonnet, the lyrical hero advises people to hurry because the minutes accelerate in the face of death: Our minutes hasten to their end (Shakespeare 37). Undoubtedly, people have to notice that their minutes will end because they cannot live forever. Despite the attempts to resolve the conflict, people are not able to win. The life will continue without them because new waves and pebbles will be created in the future. In fact, Shakespeare experiences a total inability to save the beauty. Moreover, the poet describes the events of human lives through crooked eclipses (Rehn 12). However, in the last two lines of the sonnet, he claims that his work will live until the end of times. In order to support this evidence, he mentions: And yet, to times in hope my verse shall stand, praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. As a result, the time has a cyclical basis, which will destroy everything. Even though people experience the passing of time, they cannot stop it. On the contrary, they suffer from the poisoning feeling of loss when they cannot change the situation and save the beauty.


William Shakespeare is one of the most prominent British writers. He is known as a poet and a playwright whose artworks have won a great number of hearts. In fact, he remains one of the most influential poets in the world because he was able to tell the stories of people. The sequence of the first 154 sonnets is dedicated to the Fair Youth. The key point of his sonnets is the consideration of ravaging nature of time. This image moves in the majority of the sonnets. Furthermore, the authors concerns about mortality and inexorability of devastating effects of time on lives of human beings are expressed in the sonnets 5, 12, 55, and 66. The poet considers time as an experience which inevitably leads to death. According to him, time is an absolute power which steals the beauty of youth. However, there is always a chance to preserve the seeds and to enjoy the perfumes made by spring flowers. The author doubts whether the monuments and statues can endure a devastating power of time. However, in most of his sonnets, he hopes that all of his works will come through different ages and times because of immortal abilities of written words. Nevertheless, regardless Shakespeares concerns about personal mortality and total disappearance from the world, his poetry has survived. As a result, there are no doubts that one of the most prominent British writers predicted his claim that time could not influence the memories one left about a beloved person.

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