Sonnet 73 Essay

1080 WordsNov 14, 20125 Pages
Sonnet 73 In William Shakespeare’s sonnet 73, Shakespeare makes a commentary on old age. At the very beginning of the poem he establishes the contrast between old age and youth which flows throughout the poem to emphasize that one should value their youth as both old age and death are imminent. Shakespeare uses each stanza to produce an image juxtaposing symbols of youth, old age, and death. In William Shakespeare’s sonnet 73 Shakespeare’s use of specific syntax, despairing tone, and vivid imagery reveal the proximity of old age to death and the importance of youth to life. In the first stanza, Shakespeare introduces the contrast between old age and youth through the first image of a tree towards the end of Autumn. Shakespeare uses the season of Autumn to represent the narrator’s current state of old age, approaching “winter” which is commonly used as a representation of death. In the second and third lines the narrator describes the branches of a tree saying, “when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang upon those boughs which shake against the cold”. This harsh image reveals that the narrator knows he is getting old and has little, if anything, left of life as he is weak, cold, desolate, and desperate. The nearly naked branch stands to represent that all he has left is slowly slipping away. Shakespeare uses a period in the last line to reveal the permanent nature of the image and to represent that the image is complete. This line reads, “bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.” This finalization of the image reveals that the happiness and joy of the sweet singing birds is gone forever, just as the narrator’s youth is gone forever. Shakespeare’s diction, using words such as “shake” “bare” and “ruin’d” reveal the despairing tone of the narrator as he longs for the return of leaves to the bare shaken branches, or the return of sweet singing birds,

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