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Essay On The Gift Of Life In Shakespeare's Sonnet 16

599 words - 2 pages

The Precious Gift of Life Revealed in Sonnet 16 


Throughout literature authors attempt to control the passage of time through their works.  In William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 16" he addresses this subject through the use of literary devices.  These devices indicate how the progress of seasons cannot be controlled by words alone.  The passing of time is displayed through paradox and imagery, but it is overcome by the ceaseless life of progeny, unlike the feeble words of Shakespeare's sonnet.


Change and age help determine time.  Shakespeare uses paradox to help convey change and relate it to the past.  He says to "fortify yourself in your decay," (3) which tells the reader that a stronger being and a stronger state of remembrance should be attained before death.  Though Shakespeare attempts to endure time with verse, his sonnet alone is not worthy enough to withstand the future.  A paradox in the couplet shows how to achieve this state of eternal life by "giv[ing] away yourself keeps yourself still" (13).  To achieve this state of remembrance, the reader must give away the gift of life (or virginity) so she may give life to others.  In return, her descendants will remember her gift and through spirit, the reader's life will live on forever.  This is the only way the reader may have life eternal.


The imagery of "Sonnet 16" helps the reader visualize the passing of time.  Through the "living flowers" (7) and "happy hours" (5) the reader can relate to the good moments in life.  Shakespeare indicates the cheerful moments of life are a key detail in one's life and ought to be relived through posterity.  Then, Shakespeare displays a more somber tone through "decay," (3) that...

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