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

What do we learn about life and death from the sonnets of the Elizabethen age ?

Extracts from this document...


What do we learn about life and death from the sonnets of the Elizabethen age ? In the 16 th and 17 th centuary a sonnet would consider certain subject matter.The Elizabethen sonnets would consider certain subject matter.These sonnets had three main concerns,the brevity of life,The transience of beauty and the inevitability of mortality Many Elizabethens were acutely aware of the beauty of life.Shakespeare knew all about the tragedy of death as all his brothers and sisters died early.In Elizabethen times death was everywhere.Sonnets were very fashionable in the Elizabethen era.In this essay I will look at four Elizabethen sonnets and try to consider what inspired to poet to write it. The first sonnet is 'A blast of wind,A momentary breath,It was written by Barnabe Barnes in 1595.It is about life and death and that how life is transient and inexorable.It uses phrases that shows the breivity of life such as ''A morning dew pearling the grass beneath'' This creates the image of grass in the early morning covered with dew.When the sun rises the dew will evaporate and be gone forever.Barnabe is saying that we humans are very much like dew.One ...read more.


whole world will one day be overcome by death and that in the last line this shall be a testomony to our love.It's the first sonnet to offer a solution to beat death which is through a sonnet. The next sonnet,written in 1609 is called 'Shall I compare thee to a summers day ?' The sonnets asks that question in the first line and says no.It then goes on to give reasons why such as sight ''Thou art more lovely''and touch '' Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines''.It picks up on all the faults of summer like''Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May'', ''Natures changing course untrimmed''and ''Every fair from fair sometimes declined''.He then uses the pivot point in the ninth line and says that his lover will never do any of those things ''But thy eternal summer shall not lack,Nor lose possesion of that fair thou oust'' and Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade.In the last rhyming couplet he states his solution to overcoming death which is through the poem.He writes ''So long as men can breathe and eyes can see.So long lives this and ...read more.


All of the sonnets have things in common.They share the same topic which is Love and death.The way all four respective poets deal with it is quite diffent.Barnabe uses different senses to show how short life is .It is a depressing poem and uses a clever juxtaposition at the end ''Birth and death and flourishing and fade''In ''One day I wrote her name upon the strand''Amorreti speaks about his lover and how he plans to preserve her through all eternity through the sonnet.In ''Shall I compare thee to a summers day'' the poet looks at summer and compares it to his metaphorical summer,his lover and in ''That time of year in mayst behold'it uses everyday objects such as trees and fires and conotations with death. All of these subjects deal with two major subjects in four different ways.There is no right or wrong way to tackle these sensitive issues but with the imagination of these four poets,I can look at them now in a positive and new way just like the people of the Elizabethen times would have done four hundred years ago. ...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 and contrast the two sonnets "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" ...

    He concludes the poem by (swearing) that ''by heaven'' he thinks his love as rare ''as any she belied with false compare''. He is basically saying that, although his mistress may not be perfect, due to her bad qualities, he still finds her to be unique.

  2. Compare William Shakespeare's sonnets 12 and 73

    The alliteration of the letter b emphasises the evening is becoming night, showing the passing of time, and the alliteration of the s, a gentle sound, reflects the subject matter that is being talked about. He sees himself in the 'twilight' of his years and begins to accept this.

  1. Compare William Shakespeare’s sonnets 12 and 73, look closely at the language use to ...

    He realises that he cannot 'make defence' against death but only wait for it. 'Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence' this means that only his children shall go on after him once he has passed away, and that this is the only way that he can avoid death.

  2. Comparison of two shakespearian sonnets

    Porcelain white skin was a sign of both beauty and social class in Shakespeare's time, for if you were white you did not work and therefore get tanned by the sun. By using the word 'dun' to describe his own lovers breasts, it conjures images of a dull brownish colour

  1. Discuss the use of sonnets through the ages.

    The poet also uses structure, rhythm and rhyme. The rhythm is Iambic pentameter. The structure of the sonnet is made up of an octave at the start and these first eight lines describe the heartache of the poet and how everyone else is in love except him and how people are in love with the idea of being in love.

  2. The Dark Lady in ShakespeareŒs Sonnets.

    The time of publishing might also help us with the identification of the mysterious Dark Lady, in particular if the Sonnets were influenced by Shakespeare�s own life. Investigations have found that Sonnets 1 to 106 were likely been written between spring 1592 and winter 1594.5 One may add to these

  1. The Mysteries of the Sonnets Vargo

    Although Shakespeare gives a harsh description of the dark lady's features, he does mention that he cares for her. "He does not say that he loves her in spite of her faults; he loves her faults and all." (Hubler 104)

  2. How were some sonnets used to express different views on love?

    the snow-filled crevices made the image of a white cross that could be seen all year round from many miles away. The suffering that Longfellow feels his wife went through is shown to us in how he describes her as a martyr, saying ?Never through Martyrdom of fire was led to its repose?.

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