Metaphors In Shakespeare's Poetry

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A popular topic expressed in poetry is that of Time and Death and the physical and mental toll that time has, on both the body and the mind. The physical destruction of time, and the angst in the imminence of death is drawn out from this sonnet. The abstract nature of both Time and Death attracts the use of metaphors to identify and clarify these concepts with the known world. Thus there is purposefulness in Shakespeare’s use of the Sonnet, broken up into three quatrains of metaphors. Each uses natural imagery in metaphor, but each has a marginally different effect on the poem, with the third quatrain defining the poem more specifically to the abstract concepts and addresses the idea of the finalistic nature of death. The content is compact …show more content…
This is due to the fact that although the ‘yellow leaves…do hang’, they are not yet fallen. Additionally, the autumn fall is an annual season, so represents a cyclic notion, rather than that of finality. However, although there is this continuous feature to the quatrain, there is a sense of uncertainty. This is demonstrated in ‘or none, or few’ in regard to the leaves, for the poet is unable to determine how close he is to an impending and subsequent death. This introduces an ambiguity and uncertainty to the opening lines of the poem, thus having an effect on the poem’s tone throughout. In regard to the linear structure, the development of the poem demonstrates a gradual downsize, and appears to minimize the time frame. For instance, the first quatrain addresses the autumn as ‘that time of year’, whereas; twilight is described as ‘of such day’. The quatrains convey a sense of the narrowing of time, and draws attention to increasingly smaller measurements of time. This reduction of time adds to a sense of diminution and demonstrates Time’s destruction. Each quatrain is clearly defined via the use of enjambment. For instance, the first three lines of …show more content…
Not only is there a voice to the poem, but there is also a sense of an addressee. Each reading of the poem shows a different interpretation of the intent of the voice, and what he wishes to infer to the other person. One interpretation is that the other person will now understand that he himself will lose his own passion fueled youth after hearing this. The poet seems to be preparing himself and the other person for the demise and reduction of youthful desire and energy. It is not the literal death of the body, but the metaphorical death of the fire within youth, most noticeably seen in the third quatrain, ‘consumed with that’ (that being the desires of youth) ‘which it was nourished by’. Moreover, the poet may be saying that the other person is now aware of the poet’s own expiration, and thus this knowledge makes the person’s love for the poet stronger because he may loose him soon, ‘which thou must leave ere long’. It is the ending couplet that draws slightly different interpretations. However, we can interpret that there is a relationship between poet and recipient due to ‘in me thou seest’, and ‘this thou percievest’.

Although the reading and interpretation of the content of the poem is rather morbid, it is not a disheartening poem. It is an artistic representation of deliberation and reflection on an individual’s mortality, and somewhat of an acceptance of the eventual arrival of Death over Time.

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