Shakespeare | Sonnet 7 | Text | A Critical Study


Shakespeare | Sonnet 7 | Text | A Critical Study

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Shakespeare  Sonnet 7  Text  A Critical Study

Shakespeare | Sonnet 7 | A Critical Study

(Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7: Text, Analytical Study | Word Notes | Faqs)

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7 – Text

Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb’d the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, ‘fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract and look another way:
So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
Unlook’d on diest, unless thou get a son.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7-An Analytical Study

Thematic Analysis

In Sonnet 7, Shakespeare explores the theme of mortality and the importance of leaving behind a legacy. The poem begins with a comparison of the sun rising in the east to a king or ruler being acknowledged by his subjects. The sun, like a powerful king, is worshipped by all those who see it rise, and they pay homage to its majesty. The speaker then extends this comparison to the sun’s journey through the sky, likening it to the life of a man.

The second quatrain begins with the speaker comparing the sun at its zenith, or the middle of its journey, to a strong youth in the prime of his life. Even though the sun is mortal and will eventually fade, its beauty is still revered by all who see it. The third quatrain then shifts to the sun’s decline, when it begins to set and its light begins to fade. Here, the speaker compares the sun to a feeble old man who is no longer worshipped or revered by his subjects.

The final couplet of the sonnet brings the theme of mortality and legacy to the forefront. The speaker tells the person addressed in the poem that, like the setting sun, they will eventually die and be forgotten unless they leave behind a son. This suggests that the only way to ensure one’s legacy is to have a male heir who will carry on their name and keep their memory alive.

Overall, Sonnet 7 is a reflection on the fleeting nature of life and the importance of leaving behind a legacy. The sun serves as a metaphor for human life, with its rising, zenith, and decline representing the stages of life from birth to death. The poem suggests that the only way to ensure one’s memory lives on after death is to have children who will carry on their name and legacy.

Literary Device Analysis:

The sonnet is written in the traditional Shakespearean form of three quatrains and a couplet, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The use of enjambment between the quatrains creates a sense of continuity and flow, emphasizing the cyclical nature of life.

The sun is personified throughout the sonnet, with the use of capital letters to emphasize its importance. The metaphor of the sun as a young man in his prime is sustained throughout the sonnet. The sun’s journey across the sky is likened to a pilgrimage, with the use of religious language emphasizing the sense of reverence and worship.

The use of contrast between the young, vibrant sun and the aging sun adds depth to the metaphor and highlights the inevitability of aging and death. The shift from the worship of the young sun to the disregard for the old sun is emphasized by the use of the word “converted,” which suggests a change in loyalty.

The final couplet is a direct address to the young man, using the second-person pronoun “thou.” The use of the word “noon” suggests that the young man is at the height of his powers, but that this will not last forever. The sonnet ends with a blunt statement that the young man will be forgotten unless he has a son to carry on his name and legacy.

Overall, Sonnet 7 is a powerful meditation on the nature of youth and aging, and the importance of procreation in securing one’s place in the world. 0 0 0

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7 – Word Notes

“When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses”

“Summer’s breath” refers to the warm winds and air associated with the season of summer.
“Masked buds” refers to the flower buds that are still closed and hidden, waiting to be revealed.

“But, for their virtue only is their show”

“Virtue” here refers to the intrinsic worth or value of the flowers, which is not immediately apparent from their outward appearance.
“Only” suggests that the true value of the flowers lies beyond what can be seen on the surface.

“They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade”

“Unwoo’d” means that the flowers are not courted or admired, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for people who are overlooked or ignored. “Unrespected” means that the flowers are not valued or esteemed, further emphasizing the idea of their hidden worth. “Fade” refers to the eventual withering and death of the flowers, which could be seen as a metaphor for the passing of time and the impermanence of all things.

“Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so”

“Die to themselves” means that the flowers fade and die without any acknowledgment or recognition, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for the idea that a person’s life can pass unnoticed or unappreciated. “Sweet roses” are used as a contrast to the earlier flowers, as they are well-known for their beauty and fragrance. The suggestion is that, unlike unappreciated flowers, roses are celebrated and cherished. 0 0 0.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7 – Faqs

Here are some frequently asked questions on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7

Q: What is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7 about?
A: Sonnet 7 is a poem in which Shakespeare tries to convince a young man to procreate in order to preserve his beauty and youth for future generations.

Q: What is the rhyme scheme of Sonnet 7?
A: Sonnet 7 follows the traditional Shakespearean rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Q: Who is the speaker in Sonnet 7?
A: The speaker in Sonnet 7 is likely Shakespeare himself, addressing a young man whom he is trying to persuade to have children.

Q: What is the central theme of Sonnet 7?
A: The central theme of Sonnet 7 is the idea of procreation as a way of preserving one’s beauty and youth.

Q: What literary devices are used in Sonnet 7?
A: Sonnet 7 uses several literary devices, including metaphor, alliteration, and repetition.

Q: What is the tone of Sonnet 7?
A: The tone of Sonnet 7 is persuasive and urgent, as the speaker implores the young man to procreate and pass on his beauty to future generations.

Q: What is the meaning of the line “When forty winters shall besiege thy brow”?
A: This line refers to the idea that as the young man ages, his appearance will be affected by the passage of time and he will no longer be as beautiful as he is in his youth.

Q: What is the significance of the line “And make a famine where abundance lies”?
A: This line refers to the idea that if the young man does not procreate, his beauty will be wasted and lost forever, like food that goes to waste in a time of famine.

Q: What is the overall message of Sonnet 7?
A: The overall message of Sonnet 7 is that procreation is a way of preserving one’s beauty and youth for future generations. The speaker implores the young man to have children so that his beauty will not be lost to time. 0 0 0.

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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