You Mean So Much..Kinda

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I don't know about you, but when I found out we would have to read something by Shakespeare, I groaned on the inside before settling down to read the short sonnet. It's not that Shakespeare doesn't capture feelings of love and death in an intriguing way through Sonnet 73 or the strangeness of the language that throws me off, but there's always just been something about his writing that I don't like.

Determined to try to find something great about this poem, I managed to actually enjoy lines five and six, "In me thou seest the twilight of such day/As after sunset fadeth in the West." The intriguing imagery that appeared in my mind when I read this line (after about six tries) finally came out looking like something that I could relate to. These two lines talk about those few short moments of true beauty that lights up the sky as the sun starts to set before it is completely hidden by the cloak of night. Continuing further into the poem, the reader sees the connection between how little a person's life really lasts and how a person should take every opportunity to see the beauty in life. That's a pretty powerful connection that Shakespeare is trying to state. This connection would lead the reader to believe that Shakespeare is intending the love to be everlasting even in death, but in the last few lines, the speaker kind of states that it's over once the person dies. Regardless of the ending, it still leaves the reader with a powerful imagery of how important the time spent with this person as well as the person in general is to the speaker.


The imagery was what I enjoyed most from this sonnet, on both a personal and literary level. Shakespeare successfully captures those last dying moments in a beautifully detailed way. I didn't think the last couple lines meant it would be over once the person dies, though. To me, it seemed like the speaker is saying that it's not until those last moments that you realize just how much that person really means to you.

Josie Rush said:

I agree with that, Karyssa. It's kind of fun to read Shakespeare and realize that he was using this type of imagery before it was considered cliche.
Though, I feel your pain, Melissa. I always have a bit of trouble getting excited about Shakespeare. I think there's just a lot of pressure to really enjoy and understand him. He's like the assumed god of English literature. If people hear you're an English major, by god you must like Shakespeare.
And I do. Most of the time.

Melissa Schwenk said:

Karyssa - You're probably right about the last few lines being about realizing how important someone is to you.
Josie - I'm desperately wishing you had not called Shakespeare the God of literature, even if most people think he is. However, I must admit that there are some plays that I do enjoy of his, but only a very limited amount.

Josie Rush said:

ah, my friend, "the assumed god of literature." he's just the fall-to name for discussion among a lot of english majors. people assume you're in love with shakespeare if you major in english.

Jessica Orlowski said:

It's almost like "the few short moments of true beauty that light up the sky" are like youth. Now that I think about it, couldn't Shakespeare be speaking about his youth during this entire poem? I don't know. It was worth a shot :)

Melissa Schwenk said:

Jess - Now that you pointed that out, maybe. I hadn't even thought of it that way. Do you mean like he's not really about to die, but his whole youth or childhood is just being left behind as he grows into adulthood? I think I could see that.

Jessica Orlowski said:

Yes, that's what I meant... he is a young man who is speaking lovingly to his youth as she leaves him behind. If the speaker in "On Turning Ten" can grow up before his time, why can't the speaker in "Sonnet 73?"

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