Helen Vendler's Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 17

Topics: Poetry, Present tense, Grammatical tense Pages: 4 (1241 words) Published: October 15, 2010
Nowadays, a lot of people are trying to analyze old poems written by great ancient poets. Among these poets, Shakespeare is probably the one we talk about the most in the 21st century. Helen Vendler is one of the people who actually had the courage to write a whole book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. Her book, The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, contains every analysis she did on each and every sonnet of Shakespeare. Although she did a pretty good job on analyzing his sonnets, a normal student like me can’t agree with her on every single point. After reading Shakespeare’s sonnet 17 and Helen’s analysis on it, I will do a quick summary of her analysis and I will comment her ideas by stating my own opinions when I don’t agree with her. To do this summarization, I will divide her ideas in 4 paragraphs. In my first paragraph, I will summarize her own thesis on this poem of Shakespeare. To back up her thesis, Helen stated three main arguments that I will summarize in my last three paragraphs.

Helen Vendler obviously has her own thesis on the meaning of this sonnet. As she would say, Shakespeare made the future “come alive” (V 117) in this poem. He does pretty well on describing the envisaging future until he put himself in the future readers’ eye by writing, in line 9: “my papers, yellowed with their age”. In that line, the future described by this poet becomes way more imaginative and clear to the readers. She then states that up to lines 7-8, the readers have already reached the “climax of future verisimilitude”(V 117) with Shakespeare’s use of the words “age to come”. This climax is completed in line 8 and perfected in line 9. Even though Shakespeare has already described perfection in his first few verses, he is able to describe something more perfect than what the readers already thought as being perfection in these lines. She summarizes her ideas by saying that the first climax is reached in the first two quatrains while the third quatrain just adds something more...
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