Sonnet 73 Analysis

In “Sonnet 73”, the speaker uses a series of metaphors to characterize what he perceives to be the nature of his old age. This poem is not simply a procession of interchangeable metaphors; it is the story of the speaker slowly coming to grips with the finality of his age and his impermanence in time.In the first quatrain, the speaker contrasts his age is like a “time of year,”: late autumn, when the “yellow leaves” have almost completely fallen from the trees and the boughs “shake against the cold.” Those metaphors clearly indicate that winter, which usually symbolizes the loneliness and desolation, is coming. Here the reader would easily observe the similarity between the season and the speakers age. Since winter is usually considered the end of a season, it also implies that the speaker is aging gradually, and he may die very soon. Moreover, the speaker compares his age to the late twilight, “As after sunset fadeth in the west,” and the remaining light is slowly extinguished into the darkness, which the speaker likens to “Deaths second self.” In the poem, the twilight emphasizes the gradual fading of the speakers youth, as “black night” takes away the light “by and by”. Once more, the poet anticipates his own death when he composes this poem. But in each of these quatrains, the speaker fails to confront the full scope of his problem: winter, in fact, is a part of a cycle; winter follows spring, and spring returns after winter just as surely. Age, on the other hand, is not a cycle; youth will not come again for the speaker. In the third quatrain, the speaker resigns himself to this fact. Finally, the speaker compares himself to the glowing remnants of a fire, which lies on the ashes of the logs that once enabled it to burn. In contrast, the love between the speaker and his beloved remains strong even though he may not live long. Here the speaker employs another kind of figurative language, the paradox, to emphasize that their love, unlike the fire, is unalterable and everlasting. The couplet of this sonnet renews the speakers wish for their love, urging her to “love well” which he must soon leave. But after the third quatrain, the speaker applauds his lover for having courage and adoration to remain faithful to him. The rhyme couplet suggests the unconditional love between the speaker and his lover; even though his body is frail as his age begins to sap all of his strength, his lover is there to support him. “Sonnet 73” reminds me of how precious life is. It also reminds me to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunities in front of me because I may regret about missing my chances later if I dont. I hope that I will be able to look back on my life with a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment when I am old.


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