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    The Longevity of the Written Word As Interpretted By Shakespeare’s Sonnets Essay

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    Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

    But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,

    How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea. — Sonnet LXV

    In this excerpt he goes on to say that by putting his feelings of love into prose it can outlast all of these seemingly timeless substances. He tells us that he feels no matter what the world does there will always be a timeless element to love. Another example of this is in Sonnet XVIII in which Shakespeare is talking about his Love and comparing her to a summer’s day. The only problem with this is that a summer’s day is not as “lovely and temperate” as his Love. It simply does not measure up to her. Although a summer’s day is long, it is not eternal, nor permanent, as is his love for the subject. He knows the time that he and his Love live in will end, so the only permanence would be to write about this wonderful feeling he is experiencing.

    So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,

    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. — Sonnet XVIII

    As shown in that selection, his Love will be given life as long as that sonnet lives on and men are reading it. He believed that so long as anything was recorded it could stand the test of time. In the selection of sonnets noted, Shakespeare writes mainly about love and its strength against time. He believed that love could overcome time. He wrote about depression, destitution, solitude, and poverty and in the final statements of the poetry he would come out of these feelings because of a renewed hope brought to him by love. This love overcame all of the hurt and suffering he had endured over the course of time. Shakespeare tried to figuratively draw ideas for the reader. Through descriptive language he made us visualize the deterioration of every day items over time. He could paint images for the reader so that in their minds there was nothing that would last against the unknowns of time. One strong passage comes as he describes the short life of our seasons.

    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

    And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. – Sonnet XVIII

    Shakespeare allows the reader to see how time can change the entire world around us with the most common tide of all — the changing of the seasons. He knows that there is nothing that can stop the falling of leaves and the rebirth of foliage in the spring. This is time passing at one of its most visual points. He uses these mental pictures to convey the power of time. This is to tap into the reader’s understanding of the invulnerability of time. He then goes on in each of these works to describe how love can be the single thing that lasts through time. It appears that Shakespeare believed that love was the great end-all for any problem. He talked of despair and hurt, and could always bring himself out of these thoughts with reflections of love.

    From sullen earth, sings hymns at Heaven’s gate;

    For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings – Sonnet XXIX

    With time we all accumulate experiences that cause hurt and sorrow. But according to Shakespeare love is a force that can also accumulate and grow with time. This love can wash away the pain caused by time and leave us satiated. He tried to alert the reader to the power of love. In his work, Shakespeare also discusses such morbid thoughts of death and old age that it would lead the reader to believe he was near death. In Sonnet LXXIII he talks about death as it approaches over time. He compares his life to a fire that dims as time goes on, finally burning out as death overcomes him. He talks about himself as the changing of the seasons when leaves fall and foliage dies. He says that his death is certainly imminent. He also mentions early in this sonnet that he is referring to another person, a loved one, seeing his deterioration in life. “In me thou seest the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west.” Shakespeare then uses his last couplet to assure this person, the reader, of a new hope.

    This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,

    To love that well which thou must leave ere long. – Sonnet LXXII

    Shakespeare is alluding to the timelessness of love. The ability to love strongly will last forever if one so chooses to feel that way. Long after a loved one passes on, that love will be felt for all of time. He is saying that time has only the power to strengthen our love, for as we grow old and as our dearest friends grow old with us, we learn to appreciate the love that we have. Love is not lost; it is strengthened and made even more long lasting.

    This theme is similar to one shown in Sonnet XXX. In this particular one, Shakespeare is remembering of times past and friends who have died. He is reminiscing about the pains and sorrows that he endured initially.

    The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

    Which I new pay as if not paid before… — Sonnet XXX

    Conjuring up those old thoughts makes him go through the pain all over again as if it recently occurred. It is pain because the ones he loved, and still does, are now gone. When he realizes the love that has been there all the time, all this pain that he is feeling goes away as quickly as it came when he thinks of that certain someone:

    But if I think on thee, dear friend,

    All losses are restored and sorrows end. — Sonnet XXX

    Time and love are both very strong forces for us as people. They are two things that it seems we have little control over. We cannot stop the hands of time, nor can we alter the magnetism of love. Each thing is very strong in its own right, but when they are talked about together it would seem that just as anything else in the world, love would fade with time. Shakespeare tried to say that no matter how long one endures without love, the idea of it brings us hope. He says that that idea of love will never fade in our minds. According to him “so long as men can breathe and eyes can see,” (Sonnet XVIII) love will persevere.

    The timelessness of love is possibly the strongest thread interlocking these sonnets. In each one Shakespeare makes it a point to alert the reader to the fact that love is timeless. He incorporates this theme into his final quatrains and the couplets at the end so that the last remaining idea in our minds is that of the everlasting power of love. It is quite apparent to the reader that Shakespeare thought very highly of love and language. It is fascinating how he uses language to flatter language. He uses very descriptive prose, which helps us see that even today his writings are timeless, while these days we find things such as brass and stone very weak substances. We are able to realize that Shakespeare presumed that we would be reading this literature far after his passing because he knew that as long as his thoughts could flow through his pen, they would indeed last forever.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    The Longevity of the Written Word As Interpretted By Shakespeare’s Sonnets Essay. (2017, May 29). Retrieved from

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