Sonnet 60 Analysis

1386 words - 6 pages

Sonnet 60 is an example of a Shakespearean sonnet, including three quatrains and a couplet to tie it all together. The theme of the poem is essentially about Time. Time is a destructive force that no one can escape; everything will come to its end and only Time can decide when that is. The poem uses three different images to relate to Time, especially being compared to a human’s lifespan. These three images are the ocean, the sun, and nature. The poem uses iambic pentameter as well and when read out loud, the stressed and unstressed syllables make the words sound like a heartbeat. This is a clever way to show life and then once the poem ends, the heartbeat does, just like how Time ends ...view middle of the document...

The waves “toil all forwards do contend,” (4) which can lead to thinking if the waves have to struggle and work so hard just to meet the shore, why should human life even try? Everything will come to its end.
The sun is the main imagery used in the second quatrain. Human life and essentially time are being compared to the sun and its cycle. In line 5, the sun is in “nativity.” This is alluding to the sun rising; the birth of the sun before it begins its decent into the sky. This is just like how humans are born and then rise up (age.) The “main of light” then “crawls to maturity.” (6) The sun is rising, basically crawling up in the sky. It is growing up and maturing, just like humans all do. The sun and human life are one in the same here, both starts out with birth before slowly moving on. The “crooked eclipse” further gives evidence for the sun image. Eclipses block the sun, which can be compared to how death looming begins to block human life. What seals the deal is that these eclipses may block the sun but it is Time that will eventually defeat it. Thinking in a sunrise to sunset sort of way, the sun comes to an end so the moon can come out. Time “confounds” this “gift” (8)—the sun can only be in the sky for a certain amount of time before it must go away. Time defeats everything. The sun and life both grow up before being darkened by an eclipse (death) and are thus destroyed and come to an end. Time gives life only to take it away.
The second quatrain could also be alluding to a slight religious undertone, depending on how it is read. Like mentioned above, quatrain 2 starts out with the word “nativity” (5). At first glance, this could possibly be referring to the birth of Jesus in particular (as opposed to simply the birth of the sun.) Instead of the sun being the “main of light” (5) this could be Heaven, as Heaven is generally regarded with rays of light coming from the sky. The “crooked eclipses” that fights against his “glory fight” (7) could refer to Jesus being nailed to the cross. Glory is another term that is closely regarded with being religious. Then there is the mention of “being crowned,” (6) which could refer to the Crown of Thorns on Jesus that was placed on Jesus leading up to his crucifixion—which could further give evidence to the “glory fight.” The sun image in the second quatrain could be a pun on the Son, as in Jesus Christ. “Time” in line 8 could be God instead, and in a religious aspect, it is He who controls life. Time is also capitalized, just like how God is as well. It is God who takes away the “gift” (8) of life when death comes knocking. While the poem gives no other evidence for a religious aspect, there is still some evidence in the second quatrain that says otherwise.
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