Sonnet 1: Time, Immortality, Selfishness

In Sonnet 1, Shakespeare uses themes like time, “…should by time decrease”, immortality, “…might never die”, and selfishness. The theme of selfishness is introduced in lines 5-12. The first four lines before describe how the lover rejects the man reciting these words, and after the man becomes selfish, he becomes narcissistic, and too much self-love. Shakespeare makes it clear that it is an unhealthy amount of self-love, for himself and everyone else. This sonnet describes a man who is angry he has not fathered a child, and so he has not been able to share his beauty with the world. He does so by saying, “ a famine where abundance lies,” and describing himself as the “rose” and his nonexistent child the “bud.” After researching this sonnet I have discovered that a lot of readers believe the rose is described as a perfect image for a young and naive man. The bud represents growth and imperfection. I can see how both readings could work. He also hints at a theme of procreation by saying, “from fairest creatures we desire increase.”

Morgan Meschede


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