COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF SONNET 11
Shakespeare’s sonnets are a testament to his mastery of language and have been captivating readers for centuries. The intricate language, the complex themes, and the emotional depth of the sonnets continue to enthral readers even today.
You’re delving into the complete analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Sonnets by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare composed 154 sonnets, each consisting of 14 lines. It follows a strict rhyme scheme and meter. The sonnets cover a wide range of themes, including love, beauty, time, mortality, and the nature of art.
Overall, Shakespeare’s sonnets showcase his poetic mastery, conveying profound themes through rich imagery and precise language.
SUMMARY OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 11 is a contemplation on the nature of time and the passage of youth. The sonnet highlights the cyclicality of growth and decline where one fades away while simultaneously growing anew. The speaker suggests that this cycle is natural, as new life springs forth from the remnants of the old. The speaker argues that through the process of growth and decline, one gains wisdom, beauty, and increase. The repetition of the word “fast” emphasises the swiftness of this process, highlighting the fleeting nature of youth.
The speaker warns those who reject the natural cycle of life that they will suffer folly, age, and decay. The sonnet asserts that honouring the natural order is important, and those who resist it will face inevitable consequences. The speaker states that following the natural order would create a harmonious world, implying that it benefits individuals and society.
The sonnet concludes with a plea to appreciate nature’s gifts and work towards leaving a meaningful legacy for future generations. The final couplet stresses the value of reproduction and legacy, urging individuals to ensure their “copy” endures and is not lost.
Overall, the sonnet conveys a message of accepting and celebrating the natural cycle of life and death while urging to live life to the fullest.
STRUCTURE OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Sonnet 11 by William Shakespeare follows the traditional structure of an English sonnet. It consists of 14 lines divided into three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a final rhyming couplet (two-line stanza).
The rhyme scheme of Sonnet 11 is:
- Line 1-4: ABAB
- Line 5-8: CDCD
- Line 9-12: EFEF
- Line 13-14: GG
The first quatrain introduces the metaphor of the moon’s phases to represent the cyclical nature of growth and decline.
The second quatrain elaborates on the metaphor, stressing the significance of accepting the natural order and the cycle of life and death.
The third quatrain introduces a warning against those who do not embrace this natural order. It implies that a life of folly, age, and decay awaits those who fail to grow and develop as a part of the natural cycle.
The final couplet serves as a conclusion to the sonnet, emphasising the importance of reproduction and continuation. The sonnet’s structure reinforces its message through the cyclical rhyme scheme and repetition of “fast”. It emphasises the fleeting nature of youth and the importance of making the most of the time that we have.
Overall, the sonnet’s structure enhances its themes of acceptance and celebration of the natural cycle of life and death, and a call to cherish the bounteous gifts of nature.
POETIC DEVICES IN SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 11 employs several poetic devices to convey its message and create an emotional impact on the reader. Some of these poetic devices include:
- Metaphor: The central metaphor of the sonnet compares the cyclical nature of growth and decline to the waxing and waning of the moon. The sonnet continues to extend the metaphor of the natural cycle of growth and decline throughout its entirety. The speaker draws parallels between the natural order of the moon’s phases and the natural cycle of life and death.
- Repetition: Throughout the sonnet, the word “fast” is repeated, emphasising the idea of the natural cycle moving quickly and relentlessly. It emphasises the swiftness of the natural cycle of growth and decline and highlights the fleeting nature of youth.
- Personification: The sonnet personifies nature as a carver, implying that it has shaped the subject for the speaker to print and continue his legacy.
- Rhyme: The sonnet follows a traditional ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme, with each quatrain ending in a rhyming couplet.
- Alliteration: Alliteration is used in the sonnet, creating a musical effect, such as “fresh blood” and “folly, age, and cold decay.”
- Imagery: Vivid imagery is used in the sonnet to depict growth and decline, including the moon’s cycle and youth’s transformation into wisdom and beauty.
ANALYSIS OF FIRST STANZA OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st,
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
The first quatrain presents a metaphorical comparison between the natural cycle of growth and decline, and the phases of the moon. The speaker suggests that, like the moon, the subject of the sonnet wanes and grows as they transition from youth to age. The word “wane” refers to the moon’s diminishing light, while “grow’st” indicates its increase.
The opening line, “As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st,” suggests that as something fades or diminishes, something else grows or develops. This could refer to the natural cycle of life, where aging and death are balanced by birth and growth.
The second line of the quatrain emphasises the idea of transition, as the subject is described as growing in “one of thine” from that which he is departing. This suggests that the subject is not simply growing older, but rather transforming into something new.
The third line employs “fresh blood,” emphasising the idea of renewal, contrasting the subject’s youthful vitality with ageing.
Finally, the fourth line of the quatrain reinforces the theme of transformation. It urges the subject to embrace their past self as part of their present and future. The use of the word “convertest” suggests a religious connotation, as if the subject is undergoing a spiritual transformation.
Overall, this stanza sets the stage for the sonnet’s exploration of the cyclical nature of life. The sonnet celebrates the beauty and wisdom found in the natural process of growth and decline.
ANALYSIS OF SECOND STANZA OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this folly, age, and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
The second stanza contrasts the inevitability of ageing and decay with the idea of growth and increase.
The first line implies that within this cycle lies the essence of what is valuable in life. Wisdom, beauty, and increase are desirable qualities that are associated with growth and development. They are contrasted with the negative attributes of ageing and decay in the next line.
The second line suggests that without growth and increase, life would be marked by folly, ageing, and decay. This line implies that growth and development are necessary for a fulfilling life, and their absence would lead to negative qualities.
The final lines imply that if everyone were focused on growth and development, time would cease to be an issue. The idea of threescore year (or sixty years) making the world away suggests that without growth and development, life would be short and meaningless.
Overall, this stanza implies that a lack of growth and development results in a life marked by deterioration, ageing, and decline.
ANALYSIS OF THIRD STANZA OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look whom she best endowed, she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
The third stanza continues the theme of growth and increase, but shifts the focus to the idea of natural selection and the importance of cherishing those who are best endowed by nature.
The first line suggests that nature does not endow everyone equally and that some individuals may be less gifted than others. The phrase “made for store” could mean made for abundance or plenty. It implies that some individuals are meant to have more than others.
The second line suggests that those who are less gifted by nature may not thrive or prosper, and may even perish without leaving a legacy. This line reflects a belief in natural inequality and the idea that only the fittest individuals survive and prosper.
The third line suggests that those who are best endowed by nature are given even more. It implies that nature favours those who are already successful or gifted. This line also implies that natural selection favours those who are already strong and successful.
The final line suggests that those who are best endowed by nature should be appreciated and valued for their gifts. The use of the word “bounty” emphasises the idea of abundance. It also suggests that those who are successful should be generous and share their wealth and gifts with others.
Overall, this stanza promotes the idea that natural selection favours those who are best endowed by nature. It also suggests that those who are successful and gifted should be appreciated and valued for their contributions. The stanza also implies that those who are successful should be generous and share their gifts with others.
ANALYSIS OF LAST COUPLET OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.
The final couplet emphasises the idea of reproduction and legacy. It suggests that the natural cycle of growth and decay is meant to continue through the act of reproduction.
The first line suggests that the individual being addressed in the poem was created by nature for a specific purpose. The use of the word “seal” suggests that this purpose involves leaving a mark or impression on the world.
The second line implies that the purpose of the individual being addressed is to reproduce and leave a legacy. The use of the word “print” suggests the act of creating a copy or an impression. It emphasizes the idea of leaving a mark on the world. The line also implies that failing to reproduce and continue the cycle of growth and decay is a failure to fulfil one’s purpose.
Overall, this couplet reinforces the idea that growth and development are essential for a fulfilling life. The sonnet suggests that reproduction and legacy creation are meant to continue the cycle of growth and decay. The use of “copy” emphasises each individual’s uniqueness and their potential to leave a distinctive mark on the world through reproduction and legacy.
THEMES OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Here are some of the main themes of Sonnet 11 by William Shakespeare:
- The cycle of life: The poem explores the natural cycle of growth and decay. It suggests that these opposing forces are a necessary part of life.
- The importance of growth and development: The poem emphasises the idea that growth and development are essential for a fulfilling life, and that without them, life would be characterised by negative qualities such as ageing and decay.
- Natural selection: The poem suggests that not everyone is equally endowed by nature, and that some may be less gifted than others. The sonnet emphasizes the concept of natural selection by suggesting that only the strongest and most gifted individuals survive.
- Legacy and reproduction: The poem emphasizes the importance of leaving a legacy and continuing the cycle of growth and decay through reproduction.
- Appreciation for the gifts of nature: The poem implies that society should value and appreciate the gifted, and the successful should be generous and share their gifts with others.
Overall, Sonnet 11 explores the complex and interconnected themes of life, growth, nature, and legacy. It emphasises the importance of cherishing and valuing the gifts of nature and continuing the cycle of growth and decay through reproduction and the creation of a legacy.
SETTING OF SONNET 11: As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
Sonnet 11 by William Shakespeare does not have a specific setting in terms of a physical location or time period. Rather, it explores universal themes that are applicable to all people and all times. The poem reflects on the natural cycle of growth and decay that is inherent in all living things, regardless of their location or time period. The setting of the poem is more metaphorical and philosophical than literal. The focus of the poem is on the natural world and the cycle of life, rather than on a specific physical setting.