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As Shakespeare and Tennyson are individuals, it is understandable that their views on old age and death are diverse. Sonnet 73, written by William Shakespeare gives us an insight of what he thinks of old age and death.

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Introduction

As Shakespeare and Tennyson are individuals, it is understandable that their views on old age and death are diverse. Sonnet 73, written by William Shakespeare gives us an insight of what he thinks of old age and death. In addition Alfred Lord Tennyson expresses his thoughts on the same theme through his poem, crossing the Bar. I will analyse in detail, both Shakespeare's and Tennyson's perspective towards old age and death. "That time of year..." the first line clearly demonstrates that Shakespeare is referring to a specific time of the year. "Yellow leaves" and "boughs which shake against the cold" these metaphors in the first quatrain immediately implies that he is regarding to the season of autumn. Autumn leads to the winter, the winter is considered to be end of the year; this could also be connected with death because it is the end of a human life. However, Shakespeare has used the autumn to display an old man who is gradually ageing and whom is not far away from his deathbed. " When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang" Shakespeare uses an autumn tree to represent growing old. As the tree loses it leaves, a man loses his hair and teeth. The structure of this line has a deeper significance; the commas slow down the flow of the sonnet and this gives us the sense of the slow speech of an elderly man. ...read more.

Middle

All that remains are from the fire are the ashes of his youth and they are nothing more than memories from the past. Shakespeare has chosen a fire because it resembles a human because both need fuel to survive. "Consum'd with that which it was nourished by." Destroyed by the very thing that fed it. Shakespeare finishes the sonnet with a rhyming couplet. "This thou perciev'st which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long." This summarises the whole sonnet, the message he is sending it to a friend he is basically saying that make the most of me before its too late. Crossing the Bar simply means crossing the barrier " Sunset and evening star" already Tennyson uses two positive images. Like Shakespeare, Tennyson is referring to the end of the day to represent the end of his life but he uses the evening star, which is a romantic and tranquil image. As well as that the stars are only seen until daylight returns and the sunset replaces the darkness. "And one clear call for me, And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea," These three lines in the first stanza prove that Tennyson believes that death is crossing the bar or boundary into an everlasting life, nothing like Shakespeare who believes it is an eternal sleep. ...read more.

Conclusion

"For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place," Here Tennyson is explaining that afterlife is beyond our comprehension, we cannot image it and there is no time or place once we have passed away. "Time" and "Place" are capitalised to emphasise their infinite states. Tennyson goes on to write "I hope to see my pilot face to face," this single sentence exposes Tennyson attitude towards religion he hopes to see god face to face. "Pilot" has a capital letter to highlight the importance of the word. Pilot is known as a navigator who guides someone hence god guides Tennyson. The final line of the poem is "when I have crost the bar." This is Tennyson's way of describing death. After analysing Sonnet 73 and Crossing the Bar it is clear that Tennyson and Shakespeare attitudes toward old age and death are entirely opposite. Shakespeare is bitter towards old age and death but he is also livid and aggravated by it. This is understandable, as Shakespeare shows no religious belief about death. Therefore he has nothing to look forward too when he dies. Alternatively Tennyson accepts death and sees it as journey. He is a religious man and believes in god, that is why his attitude towards death is optimistic. I think that this is the key reason that Shakespeare and Tennyson views are different because of the beliefs of the afterlife ...read more.

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