William Shakespeare 's Sonnet 19 Essay examples

837 Words Oct 30th, 2016 4 Pages
We often think of time only as numbers on the face of a clock but, in Sonnet 19 Shakespeare views Time as powerful and destructive force that is constantly wearing away the current state of nature. Shakespeare uses the structure of the poem to define moments of tone shifts and highlight his message. Through the personification of Time as a physical entity, the reader understands that in this poem Time is purposefully destructive and a force to be reckoned with. Shakespeare emphasizes all of these ideas through meter breaks and caesura’s. Shakespeare sets up Time as a physical enemy as he pleads for his love to remain untouched.
The structure of the English, or Shakespearian sonnet as it has come to be known, helps to highlight the different tones Shakespeare uses in his message to Time. Shakespeare uses the first quatrain to define the physical character of Time. By starting with the phrase “Devouring Time” the reader instantly knows that Time is the enemy; as devouring has the connotation of uncontrollable consumption, often used in the context of a predator eating its prey. Then through a series of imperatives, the reader comes to realize how powerful time. Shakespeare tells time to,
“blunt thou the lions paw/ And make the earth devour her own sweet brood/
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tigers jaws/ and burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood”.
Shakespeare says these as commands but in the context they are actions Time would willingly commit. Lions and tigers were…

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