The Immortality of Literature - Comparing Edmund Spenser's Sonnet 75 and William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

Topics: Edmund Spenser, Death, William Shakespeare Pages: 3 (1205 words) Published: February 18, 2011
Ember Fenerol
English 2
The Immortality of Literature
Immortality is not impossible to achieve, it is in fact a very possible thing through literature. In Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser, the speaker tells a brief tale about himself and his mistress, debating about mortality one day at the beach. In Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare, the persona is speaking to his lover via the poem; he compliments him and states that his beauty will live on forever through this poem. Sonnet 75 by Spenser and Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare are similar due to the fact that they both incorporate the idea of immortality through literature alone. In both poems, the speakers tell the auditors that they will achieve immortality together though the poem and that immortality can only be reached this way, through literature.

In the poems, both personas speak to their lover saying they will be immortal. In Sonnet 75, the narrator makes it clear to the auditor and the readers that his mistress is not on the same mortality level as the rest of the world. He implies that she is special since he loves her and that she and he will live forever in a later life, in the future. “Where whenas death shall all the world subdew/ Our love shall live, and later life renew” (Spenser, 13-14). The speaker states that when everybody on earth at that particular moment in time is all dead and gone in the future, they will not be forgotten like the rest. Therefore they shall live on into the future via the readers who read this poem in our present day for instance, which is many years later. The speaker then goes on to tell his mistress not to worry about their physical mortality, and to let lesser beings than themselves worry about dying and turning to dust, because that is not what will happen to them. “Let baser things devize/ To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame” (Spenser, 8-10). Dust is symbolic of...
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