Analysis Of Sonnet 54 By William Shakespeare

931 words - 4 pages

In Sonnet 54, the speaker, an older man, probably in his thirties or forties, addresses the youth, a young man most likely in his late teens or early twenties. In his address to the young man, he contends that the young man’s beauty and truth are similar to the fragrance contained within a rose, and he argues that those two qualities will be forever preserved in the poet’s sonnet, in the same way that the sweet scent of the rose is forever preserved in perfumes.
The poet develops two key images throughout the sonnet; that of the rose and that of the canker blooms. Canker blooms are identified as dog roses or wild roses that lack a sweet scent. These two flowers are compared and contrasted ...view middle of the document...

External beauty fades and the rose becomes worthless, whereas the true rose that has both external beauty and a sweet fragrance never becomes worthless. The “fragrance” or essence of the youth never fades if it is preserved. The speaker tells the youth that the youth’s essence will be preserved by his verse. “And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth, when that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.” (Shakespeare, 13) The speaker tells of his passion to preserve the youth’s “truth” for others to enjoy. Also, the vivid and formal diction of the sonnet adds to the feel of the poem as a whole. The syntax and word choice give the sonnet a formal setting, like the using the words canker blooms instead of wild roses or dog roses. The word choice also gives the sonnet a vivid sense of sight and smell, “As the perfumed tincture of the roses, hang on such thorns and play as wantonly when summer’s breath their masked buds discloses” (Shakespeare, 6)
On another note, Shakespearean sonnets are primarily written in iambic pentameter. Sonnet LIV is written in iambic pentameter, has 14 lines, which are unrhymed and not grouped into stanzas, which is called blank verse. The rhyme scheme of the sonnet consists of abab cdcd efef and ending in the couplet, which is the last two lines of the sonnet, which has a rhyme scheme of gg. If the sonnet did not have the rhyme scheme, then it would not have the same affect; rhyme makes a poem flow better and sound lyrical.
Since the diction and syntax of the sonnet can be difficult to follow when first reading the poem, it is easier to put it into simpler words to better understand what the speaker...

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