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Examining the theme of Time in Shakespeare's Sonnets

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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