Sonnet 73 Analysis
Poetry is a common medium for people to express love. Sonnets are almost always about love. William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 is no exception. Senti-ments of love along with those of against and death are expressed through the use of figurative language. The poem is organized in such a way that, as it progresses, the reader feels the author approaching death as the use of carefully chosen meta-phors that give Sonnet 73 such powerful imagery.
In the beginning of the poem the author uses the metaphor of autumn to stand for his progression in years. Just like the leaves change and fall from the trees, the author has changed and lost his youth. The author next states a compari-son of his aging to a sunset: In me thou seest the twilight of such day/ As after sunset fadeth in the west (lines 05-06). Here sunset represents dying. The next metaphor compares night, which occurs after sunset, to death. Which by and by black night doth take away/ Death’s second self that seals up all in rest (07-08).It is important to note that the author has changed his focus from aging, to dying, to death, and narrowed his scope to the close of one day (05). In the final quatrain the author speaks of a deathbed of ashes (10-11). These ashes can be interpreted as the ashes of his youth. Those ashes had once been the fuel of the man’s youth, that which provided his youthful energy. But now, they are now the place where the dying fire of his youth and strength dwindles to nothingness.
It is the final couplet of Sonnet 73 that first mentions love. The entire poem is written to someone, probably a lover or a loved one. The last two lines, however, seem to appear to sum up the relationship: This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong// To love that well, which thou must leave ere long (13-14). Here the author is saying that even though he is so close to death, the lover still loves him. The author’s advanced stage on life actually makes the love more strong (13), even though the lover knows that the author will not be around much longer.
Although the author spends much of the sonnet speaking of aging, dying, and death, there is still an element of love. The poem addresses a lover of the author through figurative language and metaphors. The organization of the poem makes a steady progression from images of aging, to dying, to death, and ulti-mately to love. Sonnet 73 is a love poem with images of aging and death.
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