Honors English: Block - H
11 January 2010
Analysis for Shakespeare's Sonnets Two and Three
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet II, the sonnet progresses from a gentle warning, to a more stern threat by the end of the poem. In the first stanza, Shakespeare says that in forty years when the man is all wrinkled, the beauty of his youth will mean nothing. But if he has a child, then the legacy of his beauty will live on forever. In the second stanza, Shakespeare says that the man will hate himself if he does not have children, and when he gets old and decrepit he cannot see his beauty passed on to anyone. He will look back on his life, and realize how greedy and selfish he was by not having children. In the third stanza, Shakespeare provides a glimpse into the future, for the man to see and hear the feelings of regret that he will experience if he does not have a child. The man will be much happier if he is to have a child, and forever see his beauty live on, on Earth. Each quatrain helps to develop Shakespeare’s argument by slowly changing from a more subtle warning to a very clear threat. His theme or message is that if you are selfish in your youth, you will regret your decisions in your old age.
The tone of this poem is light-hearted, but still very sincere. Shakespeare tries to make the man see the errors of his ways, and uses brilliant imagery to help prove his point. He uses words like, “treasure,” “deep trenches,” “all-eating shame,” and, “lusty days,” to help illustrate his point. Shakespeare also uses antithesis when he says, “And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold”. This means that if the man is dying and he has no children, then he will just die. However, if he is dying and has children, then he will see his blood running warm through the veins of someone who also has the beauty of his father that has been passed down to him. Shakespeare threatens the man by warning him that he will wish that he could have...