Analysis Of Shakespeare's Sonnet 126

619 words - 2 pages

Shakespeare's sonnets can be by most considerations split into two parts. In thefirst part, sonnets 1-126, the speaker is talking to a young boy. The second part, sonnets127-152, the speaker is addressing a dark lady. For the purposes of this essay, I wouldlike to look at the last sonnet of the first part, sonnet 126. In this sonnet, the speaker isissuing a warning to "my lovely boy," of the inevitability of time over nature.The sonnet begins, "O thou my lovely boy, who in thy power Dost hold time'sfickle glass, his sickle-hour." Shakespeare makes ten uses of the word glass in hissonnets. In this particular use, he is referring to glass as a mirror. Time's fickle or unpre-dictable mirror only shows the person's face at the present time. "His sickle-hour"is probably referring to the hour of one's death because we associate sickle with reap-ing or the grim reaper. The sonnet continues by saying, "Who hast by waning grown,and therein show'st Thy lovers withering as thy sweet self grow'st." In other words,the youth is growing in age by waning or decline which is what happens in old age, butthe youth is still beautiful and only sees his lovers fading beauty.In the next portion of the sonnet, nature is introduced as a," sovereign mistressover wrack." Therefore, she is the ruler over the destruction or ruin that time bringsabout. The speaker goes on to describe nature's skill and purpose. "As thou goestonwards still will pluck thee back, She keeps thee to this purpose: that her skill."Even as the youth goes forward in time, nature has the power to preserve and main-tain the beauty. In doing this, nature disgraces time, "May time disgrace," whosesole purpose is to destroy and decay.The next section of the sonnet comes with a warning for the youth aboutnature. Although,...

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