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Acceptance of Loss of Time in Sonnet 73 and When I have Fears Essay

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Acceptance of Loss of Time in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 and Keats’s When I have Fears that I May Cease to Be  


   Time spent fearing the passage of time wastes the very thing that one dreads losing. Both Shakespeare’s "Sonnet 73" and Keats’s "When I have Fears that I May Cease to Be" reveal the irrationality of this fear and explore different interpretations of this theme: to Keats death equates an inability to reach his potential, to accomplish what he desires; to Shakespeare death (represented in the metaphors of autumn, twilight, and ashes) will separate him from earthly, physical love. Through various rhetorical strategies and content of sub-themes, these authors ultimately address their struggle with mortality and time; their sonnets support the idea that to fear loss and death is a waste of precious time.

By telescoping the various metaphors of autumn, twilight, and ashes in "Sonnet 73, " Shakespeare portrays the ending of time. His systematic representation of familiar concepts as symbols of time passage and models of life creates three individual paralleled sonnets that join at the poem’s conclusion to form a collaborated theme (Bloom 12).

Shakespeare begins with the broad season of autumns and gets progressively more specific as he discusses twilight, a smaller frame of reference, and eventually ashes, the one nonlinear metaphor that is the most specific of the three (Vendler 335). The first quatrain is devoted to the depiction of autumn as an ending season. These four lines are characterized by a tone of loss, emptiness, and nostalgia for the spring that represents the poet’s youth. The "boughs which shake against the cold" that were once covered in green leaves stand alone and practically empty in the col...


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...t a moment in earth’s little while:/ ‘This, too, shall pass away.’" -Lanta Wilson Smith

 

Work Cited

Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Interpretations: William Shakespeare’s Sonnets. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. pg. 12-13 Elliott, Nathaniel

When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be," Poetry for Students:Volume 2, Detroit: Gale, 1998.

Hirst, Wolf Z. John Keats. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1981.

Ingram, W. G. and Theodore Redpath, Ed. "Sonnet 73," Shakespeare’s Sonnets.New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1968. pg. 168-169.

King, Bruce. "When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be," Poetry for Students:

Volume 2, Detroit: Gale, 1998.

Napierkowski, Marie Rose and Mary K. Ruby.

Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997. pg. 333-336.

 

 


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