Time vs. beauty and love -Alexandra Watkins

A common motif in Shakespeare’s sonnets is the passage of time being the enemy of beauty and love. As time goes on love dies because beauty will fade away, like a wilting flower. In sonnet 15 “And all in war with time for love of you, As he takes from you, I engraft you new.” He believes Time to be the ultimate enemy that he wages war against because as time flies beauty is swept away, and he values the young man’s beauty almost above all else about him. If his love is shallow, then of course once beauty fades so will his love. I think Shakespeare fears time because then his “eternal summer” will fade. “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” (18) Meaning that the beauty the man holds gives him life, which in turn gives him love. And time eventually takes away sight and breath, life, beauty and love; which makes time a winter storm to end the eternal summer. He taunts the “devouring time” to “do thy worst, old time”, saying he is not afraid of time because he will conquer time. Shakespeare boasts that his art (beauty) will win the war with time, which he is proven right since we are talking about the man’s beauty all these years later, he “entombed” him in his sonnets so that he would stay beautiful for all time. “My love shall in my verse ever live young” (19) Shakespeare also wants the man to procreate so that his beauty and love will live on, and to not have children would be a waste of the perfect visage of the man. “The world will be thy widow, and still weep that thou no form of thee hast left behind” (9) He says that having a child would prove the man’s love for the Shakespeare. “Make thee another self for love of me, that beauty still  may live in thine or thee.” (11) We can’t know if the man had children, but we do know that his beauty (or record of) surpassed the ravages of time.

“Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date”(14) But… not really, since Shakespeare made the man’s love and beauty basically immortal. Shakespeare: 1 Time: 0

Alexandra Watkins



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