Time is one of the only forces on earth that is absolute. For ages, men and women have tried to leave their mark on the earth, but have found that time’s relentless nature of passing erodes human imprints. Sonnet sixty of Shakespeare describes the passage of time by comparing it to “waves toward the pebbled shore” (line 1). The waves within the vast ocean represent human life, which constantly moves towards the shore which symbolizes death. It is very common for humans to feel as if time starts to move faster the older they get. Time is constant, but most if not all humans can connect to this phenomenon. Shakespeare describes this by stating “so do our minutes hasten to their end” (line 3). This is just a mental state associated with being afraid of death. Growing older scares people because they know that ultimately time will remove them from the physical world. The anxiety associated with being afraid of death tricks the mind that time is moving faster, however; time has never moved faster or slower at any point in history. Shakespeare describes time by stating “nothing stands but for its scythe to mow” (line 12). This is his way of conveying that it is useless to resist time, as time is absolute. Coming to this realization scares most, but those that come to peace with time live happier lives.
Moving further into the sonnet, Shakespeare reminds humans that there is hope to stand against time. Just because inevitably one’s physical presence will disappear, this does not mean there is no way to mentally make an impact on future generations. Shakespeare’s writings have stood against the perils of time, and amazingly he predicted that this would happen. He stated “And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand, Praising thy worth, despite its cruel hand” (line 13 and 14). The way Shakespeare describes the human experience is very relatable to all humans. All people experience love, fear, sadness, anger, etc…, and Shakespeare’s connection to these emotions is why he is popular even in the twenty first century. His writings have stood tall against the waves, and show everyone that any emotion they feel is simply a part of the human experience. If all people can relate to Shakespeare, this creates a sense of unity among the population. This is because understanding other’s emotions creates powerful human connections. If Shakespeare was able to win against the “scythe” of time, then this gives hope to all that it is possible to make an impact on the world.
~ James Best