Sonnet 16

In Sonnet 16 the theme throughout seems to be the brevity of life. This is also similar throughout most of Shakespeare’s’ sonnets. There are many metaphors in this sonnet as well. My favorite is “With vigorous wish would bear your living flowers, much liker than your painted counterfeit.” What I get out of this sonnet is that if you live your life trying to fit in and please others than you will never live a truly genuine happy life but rather a fake life. I get this message from many lines in the sonnet including: “And fortify yourself in your decay with means more blessed than my barren rhyme?” and “To give away yourself keeps yourself still, and you must live drawn by your own sweet skill.” Also, in this sonnet I noticed a metonymy which was also very popular throughout Shakespeare’s sonnets. A metonymy is a figure of allusion to a feature of an object instead of the object itself. In this sonnet Shakespeare is specific with his wording which he tended to be. When describing living this “fake life” he uses words such as bloody tyrant and decay. I also think his use of bloody tyrant would be classified as an antithesis, which means by way of different words. Bloody tyrant is not usually used to describe living but rather war or tragedy.

~Macy Sissom


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