Sonnet 73 Analysis

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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 speaker's 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 "Death's second self." In the poem, the twilight emphasizes the gradual fading of the speaker's 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,...
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