• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examining the theme of Time in Shakespeare's Sonnets

Extracts from this document...


Examining the theme of Time in Shakespeare's Sonnets The Sonnets which I have studied so far are very interesting. I have discovered that the main theme of these Sonnets is Time. From the Sonnets which I have studied already, Sonnets 2, 19 and 63 have the main theme of Time. In this essay I am going to examine and explore how Shakespeare uses the theme of Time in his Sonnets. In Sonnet 2 Shakespeare uses the theme of Time against beauty. The quote "When forty winters shall besiege thy brow" depicts Time battling against beauty. It symbolises a Warlike nature between Time and beauty. Again the quote "And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field" is another prime example of Time fighting beauty. It is the idea that beauty is only temporary, because Time is forever attacking you and taking your beauty away. ...read more.


In Sonnet 19 Shakespeare is still talking about a young man and persuading him to hand his beauty on by having children. As in Sonnet 2 Time is the main theme of the Sonnet. In this Sonnet Shakespeare represents Time as wild animals, like Lions and Tigers, because these animals are powerful just like Time. For example "Devouring Time blunt thou the Lion's paws". This quote portrays Time as an animal devouring its prey - Time is the animal and the young mans beauty is the animals prey. Shakespeare uses Time as a hunting killing machine. Another reference to wild animals is "Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws". The Tiger is portrayed as Time and Times fierce jaws are going to rip away the young mans beauty unless he has children to pass his beauty down. ...read more.


In Sonnet 19 Shakespeare has also given Time a female agenda, maybe because he is indicating to the young man that he needs a woman to carry on his beauty. In Sonnet 19 Shakespeare uses powerful imagery and personification to try and persuade the young man to carry on his lineage and his beauty. He personifies Time in Sonnet 19, for example "swift-footed Time", "antique pen" and "Devouring Time blunt thou the lion's paws". All of these quotes are very important in Sonnet 19 because they are there to influence the young man into having children. The personification is trying to convince the young man that if he doesn't have children then Time will slowly take away his beauty. The imagery Shakespeare uses is also very important in Sonnet 19. Imagery of powerful wild cats and phoenix's give a sense of beauty and greatness of the importance of extending the young mans physical appearance. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Shakespeare's Sonnets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Shakespeare's Sonnets essays

  1. Compare the treatment of time in Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias", Shakespeare's Sonnet LXV "Since Brass ...

    Herrick uses the imperative mood. This gives the poem a sense of urgency and is a warning to young people to "marry" otherwise they will be left on the shelf for the rest of their long lonely days. He tells us "Time is still a-flying" and that you won't be a "rosebud" forever.

  2. Compare William Shakespeare's sonnets 12 and 73

    The 'twilight' underlines the gradual fading of the speaker's youth, as 'black night' takes away the light 'by and by'. His repetition of 'by and by' conveys the movement of time slowly, steadily but unwaveringly. Two images from 'seals up all in rest' are given to the reader, firstly that

  1. Examine the literary tradition of sonnet writing with particular reference to the sonnets of ...

    The sun has been personified as it is described as an eye and is therefore given a living quality. Shakespeare also uses heaven as, in some ways, it describes the person as a form of heaven because they are so beautiful.

  2. Discuss the use of sonnets through the ages.

    After the octave there is a turn, at this turn the poet looks to the moon for advice. In the third quatrain the poet asks the moon if the women here act the same as the women here do. In the rhyming couplet at the end of the sonnet, the poet portrays just how confused he is.

  1. The Dark Lady in ShakespeareŒs Sonnets.

    the Dark Lady Sonnets, 127-154, in so far they are linked with sonnets 33-35 and 40-42.6 Identification of the Dark Lady There have been many speculations about the identity of the Dark Lady. Some literary critics believe that the Dark Lady is no portrait of a real woman at all,

  2. The Mysteries of the Sonnets Vargo

    (Hubler 104) In other sonnets, such as Sonnet 127, William Shakespeare admits that he finds the dark lady's features beautiful. The variety of Shakespeare's descriptions of the dark lady make it seem as if there may not be a dark lady at all.

  1. From the sonnets you have studied compare and comment upon three poems, explain why ...

    All of the sonnets are aimed at a different audience. "Shall I compare the...?" is aimed at Shakespeare's loved one but is also aimed at anyone who chooses to read it. We can tell this by reading the first line as Shakespeare asks if he should "compare thee to a summers day?"

  2. Shakespearian Love Sonnets.

    The three Love Sonnets were: "Shall I compare thee..." (Sonnet 18), "So Are You to My Thoughts..." (Sonnet 75) and "My Mistress' Eyes..." (Sonnet 130). The main theme of the sonnet, "Shall I Compare Thee..." is a man talking about his admiration for a woman's eternal beauty and how she is more beautiful than a summer's day.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work