Shakespeare | Sonnet 6 | Text | Critical Study


Shakespeare | Sonnet 6 | Text | Critical Study

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Shakespeare  Sonnet 6  Text  Critical Study

Shakespeare | Sonnet 6 | A Critical Study

(Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6: Text, Analytical Study | Word Notes | Faqs)

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 -Text

Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill’d:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure, ere it be self-kill’d.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do, if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will’d, for thou art much too fair
To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 – An Analytical Study

Thematic Analysis

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 is primarily concerned with the theme of time and the transience of beauty. The poet implores the young man to preserve his beauty before it fades away with the passage of time. The poem is composed of three quatrains and a final couplet, and it employs the use of metaphors, imagery, and personification to convey its message.

In the first quatrain, the poet urges the young man not to let the winter’s coldness and roughness mar his beauty before he has had a chance to enjoy it. He encourages the young man to preserve his summer before it is distilled or distilled away by time. The use of the word “deface” conveys the idea of destruction, while the phrase “ere thou be distill’d” emphasizes the brevity and fragility of life.

In the second quatrain, the poet advises the young man to find ways to preserve his beauty. He suggests that the young man should find a way to capture his beauty in a “vial” or treasure it in some place so that it does not fade away. The use of the word “treasure” suggests the value of beauty and the need to preserve it.

In the third quatrain, the poet argues that it is not wrong to use one’s beauty to create another person. He uses the metaphor of usury to explain this idea. He suggests that using one’s beauty to create a child is like making a “willing loan” that benefits both the lender and the borrower. The poet suggests that by creating another version of himself, the young man can be ten times happier than he currently is. This idea reinforces the importance of preserving beauty and using it to create something that will outlive the individual.

In the final couplet, the poet warns the young man not to be selfish with his beauty. He argues that he is too beautiful to be conquered by death and to become food for worms. The use of personification in the phrase “make worms thine heir” emphasizes the idea of death as an enemy that seeks to destroy beauty.

Overall, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 is a powerful meditation on the theme of time and the need to preserve beauty. The poet urges the young man to find ways to preserve his beauty and to use it to create something that will outlive him. The poem is a reminder of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of making the most of the time that we have.

Literary Device Analysis:

Sonnet 6 uses several literary devices to convey its themes. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which gives it a musical quality and a sense of rhythm. Additionally, the poem uses a range of poetic devices, such as alliteration (“winter’s ragged hand,” “treasure thou some place”), metaphor (“summer” as a metaphor for youth and beauty), and personification (“winter’s ragged hand” personified as an agent of destruction).

The most striking literary device used in the poem is the extended metaphor of the alchemist or distiller. The speaker compares the beloved’s beauty to a precious substance that needs to be distilled and preserved before it is lost forever. This metaphor is developed throughout the sonnet, with the speaker urging the beloved to “make sweet some vial” and to “treasure…some place with beauty’s treasure.” This metaphor reinforces the theme of time and the transience of beauty, but also suggests that beauty can be preserved through deliberate effort and care.

Another key literary device in the poem is the use of antithesis. The speaker contrasts the fleeting nature of youth and beauty with the idea of leaving a legacy through procreation. He argues that by having children, the beloved can “breed another thee” and achieve a kind of immortality. This contrast between the ephemeral and the eternal is a recurring theme in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and is particularly prominent in this one.

Finally, the poem uses a rhetorical device called apostrophe, where the speaker addresses the beloved directly. This creates a sense of intimacy between the speaker and the beloved, and also reinforces the urgency of the speaker’s message. By addressing the beloved directly, the speaker makes the message more personal and emotionally resonant. 0 0 0.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 – Word Notes

“brave day”: This phrase refers to a glorious or splendid day, a time of great beauty or accomplishment.

“out-worn”: This word means worn out, exhausted, or used up.

“confound”: To confuse or mix up, to make unclear or unintelligible.

“brave state”: This phrase refers to a person’s noble or impressive status or condition.

Shakepeare’s Sonnet 6 – Faqs

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 with answers:

Q: What is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 about?
A: Sonnet 6 is part of a sequence of sonnets addressed to a young man, urging him to marry and have children. In this particular sonnet, Shakespeare is highlighting the importance of procreation and the passing down of one’s beauty and virtues to future generations.

Q: What is the structure of Sonnet 6?
A: Sonnet 6 follows the traditional structure of a Shakespearean sonnet, with three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a final couplet (two-line stanza). It is written in iambic pentameter, with the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Q: What literary devices are used in Sonnet 6?
A: Sonnet 6 uses a variety of literary devices, including metaphors (such as “beauty’s waste” and “thy beauty’s use”), alliteration (such as “summer’s honey breath”), and repetition (such as the repeated use of “beauty” and “fair”). It also employs the technique of enjambment, where a sentence or phrase continues from one line to the next without pause.

Q: Who is the “fair youth” mentioned in Sonnet 6?
A: The “fair youth” is the subject of the sonnet sequence addressed by Shakespeare. It is not clear who this person is, but many scholars speculate that he may have been a real-life acquaintance of Shakespeare’s or a fictional character created for the purpose of the poems.

Q: What is the tone of Sonnet 6?
A: The tone of Sonnet 6 is urgent and persuasive. Shakespeare is urging the young man to marry and have children before his beauty fades and is lost forever. There is a sense of urgency and desperation in the language used, as Shakespeare fears that the young man’s beauty will be wasted if he does not procreate.

Q: What is the main theme of Sonnet 6?
A: The main theme of Sonnet 6 is the transience of beauty and the importance of procreation. Shakespeare argues that beauty is fleeting and that the only way to preserve it is to pass it down to future generations through procreation. He urges the young man to marry and have children so that his beauty will not be wasted.

Q: What is the significance of the final couplet in Sonnet 6?
A: The final couplet of Sonnet 6 serves as a conclusion and a summary of the sonnet’s argument. It emphasizes the importance of procreation and the need to pass down one’s beauty to future generations. The final lines also serve to reinforce the urgency and desperation of Shakespeare’s plea to the young man. ***

N.B. This article originally belongs to the book entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Critical Studies‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
  15. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD)
  16. Reviews on William Shakespeare’s Works
  17. Reviews of Charles Dickens’ Works
  18. Reviews of John Milton’s Literary Works
  19. Reviews of Some Iconic Travelogues
  20. Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Critical Studies

Additional Searches:

  1. Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Study Guide
  2. Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  3. Shakespeare Sonnets
  4. The Elizabethan Sonnet Sequence
  5. Thematic Study of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  6. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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