Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73
Sonnet 73 is a meditation on mortality, and yet it can be interpreted in a number of ways. The first such interpretation is that the author of the poem is speaking to someone else about his own death that will inevitably come in the future. This interpretation has the poem focused on the author, and his focus and concern over himself. This makes him seem very selfish, because we are all going to die sooner or later, and it does not do any good to dwell on or complain about it. The only use that this interpretation really has is to evoke pity in the author, or the speaker of the Sonnet.
That is why it was this interpretation of Sonnet 73 that was used in a 1996 production of Shakespeare's The Tempest by the Indiana Repertory Theatre. The director substituted five or six Sonnets for the pageantry scene where Prospero summons island spirits to perform for Ferdinand and Miranda, the last Sonnet in this substitution being #73. Prospero has a plot against his life, and this Sonnet helps to remind him of this, and also to remind his daughter Miranda that soon her father will be gone. Prospero uses the last couplet of the Sonnet directed to Miranda as "This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong." This line could also be the author speaking in the third person, and he is referring to himself as "thou."
It is also interpreted as another two people conversing in these last lines by The Francis Bacon Society, they believe that Bacon was the one who wrote this Sonnet. "Here Bacon is meditating on getting old and like a sunset fading away and death like night sealing everything up. That the fire of his youth is like ashes on a fire expiring as on a death bed; that Marguerite shall see that to love something which she must lose eventually should make her love stronger." In this case Bacon is saying pretty much the same thing as Prospero, except that the meaning is slightly different because it is being addressed to a lover. In Shakespeare' case, with all the talk about him and young men, he could be writing about any one of the Earls that he was "involved" with.
Another interpretation of Sonnet #73 is that instead of...