Description of the Sonnet 104 by William Shakespeare

Category: Poetry, Sonnet
Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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Essay: Sonnet 104 Sonnet 104 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a fair friend. Each stanza expresses Shakespeare’s relationship with his beloved. The sonnet deals with the destructive forces of time as humans grow older and makes a commentary on the process of aging. In the first quatrain, the poet focuses on his beloved, exploring the theme of beauty and aging. The very beginning of the quatrain begins with “To me”, and in the second line, ends with “eye I eyed. These two phrases signified that what he was writing was from his own perspective. The poet did not consider the opinion of the reader and later in the quatrain, continues this theme when he states, “Such seems” in the third line. This quatrain was a commentary on the beauty of his beloved friend. The poet acknowledges that this is his perspective; yet he does not acknowledge the perspective of anyone else. These lines also discuss that his beloved friend is as beautiful as when they first met and that his opinion of beauty is not judged upon the reader.

In the second quatrain, the poet focuses on time passing the significance of evolution. This theme progresses with the continual mentioning of seasons. The poet wants to emphasize the three years that have passed. The natural cycle between seasons emphasizes the time passing. “Summers pride” gives way to “winters cold”, “beauteous springs” give way to “yellow autumn”, and April perfumes make way to the “hot Junes burnd”. This is not only a commentary on how much time has passed, but also a commentary on how beauty can fade.

As stated in the phrases listed above, the changes in seasons always lead to a different landscape. With this evolution, it is only natural that beauty fades. However, the poet makes is blatantly clear in the eighth line that his beloved never changes. This last line of the quatrain shows that his beloved is a fresh beauty. The use of the words “green” and “fresh” signify his beloved’s youthfulness and prove that he has defied nature. This breaking of the cycle proves to be a powerful use of language and diction.

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In the third quatrain, the poet recognizes that his beliefs are unnatural, and creates a shift in the sonnet. The ninth line instigates the shift once the poet writes, “Ah, yet”. This sign tone and shift in perception help him come to a realization. This recognition proves that the poet is fooling himself about his friend’s beauty. The “dial-hand” mentioned in the ninth line signifies that even though his beloved friend is actually aging, he only sees him to be beautiful. This metaphor is a perfect representation of his perception of beauty.

As the quatrain continues he explains that his eye deceives him of reality. Like a clock hand moves slowly, he slowly recognizes reality. In conclusion, sonnet 104 is a commentary on the poet’s perception versus reality. The poet ends the sonnet by announcing that no one, after he and his beloved die, could ever understand what beauty really is. The height of beauty was when his fair friend lived. Beauty was and will always be understood as a part of his writing. Though his friend may not be living, his beauty still lies within the poet’s literature.

Shakespeare Relevance Today

English Discussion on Shakespeare „What point is there in studying a dramatist who lived 400 years ago? ” Shakespeare is a British dramatist, lyric poet and actor who lived from 1564-1616. Today it’s the 6th of september 2010. Shakespeare died almost 400 years ago. So why should people still keep busy with someone who lived such a long time ago? Why is Shakespeare still studied today? Many pupils would answer: Because teachers love to bore us. How could someone who lived 400 years ago write about anything which is from current interest?

I think, even if Shakespeare doesn’t live anymore, he has a certain influence on the present. Weather in his own works (Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s dream, Hamlet, Macbeth) film adaptions of his works, theatre plays or in our everyday life- Shakespeare is everywhere. Besides Shakespeare is not just any dramatist. He is the dramatist who shaped the English language and whose words are still used today. There are about 1700 words that Shakespeare used first in his works. Most of these words, for example “critical” or “bloody” are still used even in our everyday conversations.

But it’s not only his words that are still used, there are even whole expressions just like “There is something in the wind” or “That’s Greek to me”. By the way Shakespeare is also the most quoted dramatist. Who doesn’t know the quotes “To be or not to be” (Hamlet) or “A horse, a horse, a kingdom for a horse”? (Richard III) He is the dramatist whose language and expressions still fascinate people. Especially nowadays, in the century of language decline, Shakespeare’s well-formulated rhymes, seasoned with word games and his words, full of meaning and truth can inspire people.

His sonnets are of such a beauty, that it’s a joy to read them. It seems like he didn’t only use the words- he brought them to life, just like his characters. When reading the book you can feel with them. His characters are failable, they do things because of reasons and motifs, which are still relevant today, just like love (Romeo and Juliet) or jealousy (Othello) He is the dramatist who wrote about topics which are universal and the dramatist who wrote about both the beauty of life and the ugliness of it.

Certain situations which are given in his works could still happen today. Shakespeare’s probably most famous work “Romeo and Juliet” is for example about forbidden love because of hatred between two families. Today there are still reasons just like religion or nationalities why lovers can’t be together. In “A Midsummer night’s dream” Shakespeare describes the funny side of life that results from misunderstandings.

I guess for every one of us there has already been a situation where it seemed like there are really elves who messed everything and left a love chaos. “The tragedy of Othello” shows us, what people do out of jealousy, and how easy it is to influence people. Shakespeare is the dramatist who understood the human mind very well. He was a connoisseur of human nature. Reading Shakespeare’s works and identifying with his characters can help us to develop a better understanding of human nature and a wider knowledge of the factors which influence human behaviour.

Shakespeare was a genius and I think it’s important to motivate pupils to deal with him. There are not many pupils who would do that voluntarily but I think if you fade out the prejudice that the language is too difficult to understand or that teachers just want to bore us with Shakespeare it can be a pleasure to deal with his works. Just as Ben Jonson (british poet, 1572-1637) once said "He was not of an age, but for all time! " And I guess that’s right.

Shakespeare Sonnet Compare and Contrast Essay

Sonnet Compare and Contrast Essay Love can be expressed and described in many different ways. Shakespeare`s sonnets “116” and “18” justify that love has the ability to create extremely powerful feelings between two people, which can help them achieve the ultimate sense of happiness. To that end, when people experience true love they live a more joyful and content life. When a person finds love their lives are filled with joy and pleasure that bring true happiness into ones life.

In sonnet “116”, Shakespeare writes that love should be; “an ever fixed mark, / That looks on tempests and is never shaken,” (lines 4-5). Shakespeare is speaking of a building that could never be destroyed. This quote carries a metaphor within it, by referring to love as a sturdy building. True love should never collapse; it should always hold fast and be strong no matter how dire a situation is. The metaphor also brings to light the idea that love can empower a person by creating a sense of strength and stability in between the two people that share it.

In sonnet “18,” Shakespeare is able to justify that when one is in love, one will always see the beautiful side of the person they admire. This is described in lines 9-10 “[…] thy eternal summer shall not fade, / Nor lose possession of that fair owest;” Shakespeare is comparing a glorious and never ending summer to how a person views their true love. Through the lover’s eye, beauty and youth will never fade. This quote also contains a hyperbole, one cannot be youthful forever, just like summer does not last all year, but in the eyes of those in love beauty doesn’t change and summer doesn’t turn to fall.

One that has experienced true love has a enhanced view on life, and becomes deeply invested into their soul mate. In both poems, Shakespeare declares that when two people are in love, they in turn create deep enthusiasm for another. A person in love see`s eternal beauty in the other. Sonnet “18” compares “thee to a summer`s day? / Though are more lovely and temperate” (lines 1-2). Shakespeare uses a comparison to a beautiful summer day, to explain that a person in love believes that their soul mate is lovelier.

By using an association with something tangible like the warmth and beauty of summer, Shakespeare is able to validate the couples enthusiasm and intensity of feelings for each other. As shown in sonnet “116” metaphors are also used to show love, Lines 4-5 provide an even deeper and more significant meaning for this sonnet. The metaphor makes love seem like an unbreakable structure, one that is built on trust, admiration, and no doubt of wavering feelings. Lines 4-5 contain examples of diction such as, “never,” “shaken,” and “tempest”.

Diction is used in this quote to create a deeper meaning and emphasize on how firm the structure should be. The word “never” gives a sense of confidence that nothing will ever be destroyed and the love will always be the same. Love creates enthusiasm within a person, causing them feel a deep compassion for another, but love also makes a person stronger by guiding them through problematic moments Love should be able to guide people through hard times and support them when they need it most.

The quote in line 2-5 of Sonnet “116” is very metaphorical because the quote implies that love should be strong and will never let a person down no matter how hard the situation is. As Shakespeare said, “Love is not love, Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove,” he refers to love as being something tangible, as a solid unbreakable object. By doing so, he explains that true love cannot just come and go with the tide or the wind but that it is a stable and durable fixture. Love should not only make a person stronger, it should also have the ability of guiding and giving advice to a lover.

In Sonnet “116” line 7, Shakespeare states that love is, “the star to every wandering bark”. This phrase compares the North Star, which is used by different vessels, as a guide to love. The vessel is a lost and hopeless soul but the star is love which helps guide a person to happiness. Once a person finds their rock, they are able to grow and have confidence knowing that they have somebody to support them. Shakespeare`s sonnets “116” and “18” validates that love is a powerful connection between two people.

Related Questions

on Description of the Sonnet 104 by William Shakespeare

What Is The Meaning Of Sonnet 104?
Sonnet 104 is a poem by William Shakespeare that celebrates the beauty and immortality of love. It suggests that love can transcend time and even death, and that the memory of a loved one can continue to inspire and uplift us long after they are gone.
What Is Sonnet 104 About?
Sonnet 104 is about the poet's desire to immortalize his beloved's beauty through verse, despite the inevitability of time and the decay of physical beauty. The poem expresses the idea that true beauty lies in the eternal qualities of the soul, rather than in fleeting physical appearances.
What Is The Mood Of Sonnet 104 ?
The mood of Sonnet 104 is one of admiration and praise for the subject's beauty and virtues. The speaker expresses a sense of awe and wonder at the perfection of the beloved, and celebrates their qualities with great enthusiasm.
What Is The Central Idea Of The First Quatrain?
The speaker reflects on the fleeting nature of life and how time seems to move more quickly as one gets older. They contemplate how everything in the world is constantly changing and how this can be both frightening and exhilarating. The speaker ultimately concludes that despite the chaos of the world, there is still beauty to be found.
What Is The Theme Of Sonnet 104 ?
The theme of Sonnet 104 is the immortality of love through poetry. The speaker suggests that through his words, his beloved will live on forever.

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Description of the Sonnet 104 by William Shakespeare. (2017, Apr 27). Retrieved from

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