William Shakespeare 's Sonnet 73

902 Words4 Pages
William Shakespeare “That time of year thou mayst in me behold” (Sonnet 73)
The sonnet, originating in Italy, was formed by Francesco Petrarch. The Petrarchan sonnet, originally consisting of two quatrains and a couplet, was soon brought to England where William Shakespeare took an interest in this unknown form of poetry. Shakespeare revised the sonnet so it consisted of three quatrains with the rhyming scheme of “abab cdcd efef” and a rhyming couplet at the end. This revised sonnet was then referred to as a Shakespearean sonnet. Shakespeare wrote in total 154 sonnets originating in the early 1590’s, many of his sonnets were linked together. Sonnets 71-74 are linked by the subject of the speaker 's projected death and self pity, the
…show more content…
When it 's written “sunset fadeth in the west” this is when the poet 's last breath leaves him leading into the second quatrain.
Within the second quatrain, blackness is essential when it comes to the imagery. When it is written “which by and by black night doth take away”, black night is a metaphor for death itself. As the black night closes around day so does it close around the life of the poet. When “death 's second self” is mentioned it relates to shakespeare 's earlier work of Macbeth when Macbeth himself says sleep is “the death of each day 's life”. This shows that shakespeare uses the common theme of death throughout his works.
The third quatrain, filled with pathos and marvelous metaphors, evokes the image of fading coals in the ashes of youth along with an abundance of imagery. The persona, once plentiful with life and love, now is feeding of off his foreseeable death. The ashes can also refer

to the personas youth, one that is fading and no longer exists in his eyes. The poet no longer has inspiration so he relies on the memory of his youth and is consumed by the loss of it. The sonnet turns into more of a pitiful plea at the end begging for his lost youth as he is fading into oblivion. He wishes to be remembered in the favorable light of his youth, not in the state in which he depicts himself throughout the poem. The poet hates the way time has ravaged him mentally and physically. This last pitiful part of the
Get Access