Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sonnet 73 Comparisons

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Sonnet 73 by Shakespeare discusses the similarity between the change of seasons and the natural decay that accompanies aging.
Sonnet 73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. 
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
   This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
   To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

-The pauses in line two give the line a feeling of separation, similar to how the leaves are separating from both each other and the tree.
-Shakespeare uses conceit to compare aging with the arrival of winter weather; he furthers this metaphor by using imagery that reflects weakness and scarcity. The "yellow leaves" seem like aged, yellow skin, and the "boughs which shake" reflect the unstable limbs of an elderly person, for example.
-Line 9 begins the volta; the narrator here likens this depressing image to his life
-True to most Shakespearean sonnets, the final couplet provides a contrasting feel from the rest of the poem.

Sonnet 71
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
   Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
   And mock you with me after I am gone

-Shakespeare mourns the idea of death
-In this sonnet, as in Sonnet 73, Shakespeare hoped to have loved well during his life, but he also states that that love does not serve well after death
-Shakespeare also addresses some unknown lover in both sonnets

Sonnet 97
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness everywhere! 
And yet this time removed was summer's time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow'd wombs after their lords' decease:
Yet this abundant issue seemed to me
But hope of orphans, and unfathered fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:
   Or, if they sing, 'tis with so dull a cheer,
   That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.

-Sonnet 97 employs conceit; the comparison of the lover's presence equating a summertime and her absence bringing winter is used throughout the entire sonnet.
-Nearly all lines are end-stopped. These pauses give the same effect as line 2 of Sonnet 73- the reader feels compelled to slow down and fully appreciate the weight of the narrator's words


  1. I also think the stop-endings give the effect of a winding down clock; not that Shakespeare would have known what a clock was, but they suggest an old man slowly shuddering to a halt.

    1. I literally just spent 10 minutes researching clocks because of your comment. I guess I never really thought about when clocks were invented.