COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF SONNET 7
Shakespeare’s sonnets are indeed a timeless masterpiece of literature that has 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 are going through a thorough analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light.
Sonnets by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare wrote a total of 154 sonnets, each of which is composed 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 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
In Sonnet 7, the speaker uses the rising and setting of the sun as a metaphor for human life.
The speaker compares the waning admiration for the setting sun to people losing interest in life as they age. The sonnet draws a comparison between the fading sun and the fate of a man without a son to continue his legacy. A man without a son will be forgotten and die alone, like the unadmired setting sun. The poem emphasises the importance of having a son to continue one’s legacy and avoid being forgotten.
STRUCTURE OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Sonnet 7 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 7 is:
- Line 1-4: ABAB
- Line 5-8: CDCD
- Line 9-12: EFEF
- Line 13-14: GG
The first quatrain uses the metaphor of the rising sun to represent youth and vitality. The second quatrain compares the sun’s decline to old age. The third quatrain brings these two metaphors together, with the sun’s decline now representing death.
The final couplet serves as a conclusion and a final thought. It highlights the significance of procreation as a means to perpetuate one’s legacy and avoid being forgotten.
Overall, the structure of Sonnet 7 contributes to its meaning and reinforces the importance of the poem’s central theme.
POETIC DEVICES IN SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Sonnet 7 by William Shakespeare makes use of various poetic devices to create its meaning and impact, including:
- Metaphor: The rising and setting sun is used as a metaphor for the progression of human life.
- Personification: The sun is personified throughout the poem, being described as having a “burning head” and “weary car.”
- Allusion: The opening line makes an allusion to the East and the rising of the sun.
- Imagery: The poem is rich in sensory imagery, with descriptions of the sun, the sky, and the gaze of people.
- Enjambment: There are several instances of enjambment, or the continuation of a sentence or phrase beyond the end of a line, creating a sense of fluidity and movement.
ANALYSIS OF FIRST STANZA OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
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;
The first quatrain begins with the speaker addressing the reader and drawing attention to the rising sun in the East. The speaker uses the exclamation “Lo!” to emphasise the importance and significance of the image. The phrase “gracious light” personifies the sun, giving it human-like qualities of kindness and benevolence.
In second quatrain, people are described as paying homage to the rising sun with their looks, serving its “sacred majesty”. The word “under” conveys the subordination of humans to the sun’s power, evoking a sense of reverence.
The third line describes the sun’s “sacred majesty” and compares it to a powerful ruler attended by his subjects. This reinforces the notion of the sun’s dominance and the subservience of human beings.
The speaker uses the metaphor of “strong youth in his middle age” to describe the sun’s vitality and power. However, the line introduces the idea of the sun’s mortality and foreshadows the exploration of the metaphor in subsequent quatrains.
Overall, the first quatrain uses the sun as a metaphor for human life and explores themes of reverence, power, and mortality.
ANALYSIS OF SECOND STANZA OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage:
The second quatrain elaborates on the metaphor of the sun as a symbol for human life. The quatrain begins with the image of the sun having “climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,” which suggests a difficult journey and a sense of accomplishment. The speaker compares the sun to a “strong youth in his middle age,” emphasising its vitality and power.
However, the quatrain also introduces the idea that the sun’s beauty is fleeting and mortal. The phrase “mortal looks adore his beauty still” suggests that people’s admiration for the sun is short-lived, and that it will eventually decline. The image of people attending on the sun’s “golden pilgrimage” reinforces the idea of human beings as subservient to the power of the sun.
Overall, the speaker compares the sun’s decline to that of an ageing person and describes how people’s attention shifts away from the setting sun. The quatrain suggests that even though the sun is at the height of its power, it is ultimately subject to the passage of time and the inevitability of decline.
ANALYSIS OF THIRD STANZA OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
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:
The third quatrain continues to develop the metaphor of the sun as a symbol for human life. The quatrain begins with the image of the sun at “highmost pitch,” which suggests its peak of power and glory. However, the line “with weary car” introduces the idea of fatigue and decline, and the subsequent line compares the sun to “feeble age.” It highlights the idea that as the sun declines, people’s attention shifts away from it to other things.
The final lines suggest a shift in focus as people previously subservient to the sun’s beauty now turn their attention elsewhere.
Overall, the third quatrain introduces the idea of decline and the loss of power, emphasising the transience of human life. New things sway people easily, and admiration fades when something loses its allure. The image of the sun setting and losing its power is a powerful metaphor for the inevitability of decline and the passage of time.
ANALYSIS OF LAST COUPLET OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon
Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.
The final couplet brings the metaphor of the sun back to the speaker’s own life. The couplet relates the sun’s power to the speaker’s own life, placing him at the midpoint of his existence. However, the final line adds a new dimension to the metaphor by introducing the idea of legacy and progeny.
The line “Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son” suggests that the speaker believes his own life will be meaningless unless he has a son to carry on his legacy. The phrase “unlooked on” suggests that without a son, the speaker’s life will be forgotten, just as people lose interest in the setting sun. The line places a heavy emphasis on the importance of continuing one’s lineage and leaving a lasting impact on the world.
Overall, the final couplet reinforces the themes of mortality and legacy that run throughout the sonnet. The couplet implies that the speaker’s legacy is as transient as the sun’s power, and without a son, his life will be forgotten. The sonnet ends on a sombre note, emphasising the fleeting nature of life and the importance of creating something that will endure beyond one’s own existence.
THEMES OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
The themes of Sonnet 7 by William Shakespeare include the fleeting nature of time, mortality, beauty, and legacy.
- Time is fleeting: The sonnet uses the metaphor of the rising and setting sun to illustrate the fleeting nature of time. Everything, including beauty and admiration, is temporary and fades away.
- Mortality is inevitable: The comparison between the sun’s journey and a strong youth in middle age brings up the theme of mortality. Even the strongest and most beautiful people will eventually age and fade away.
- Beauty and admiration are temporary: The speaker suggests that admiration for beauty is temporary, just like people’s interest in the rising sun.
- Legacy is important: The final couplet of the sonnet emphasizes the importance of leaving a lasting impact on the world. Without a son to carry on his legacy, the speaker’s life will be meaningless and forgotten. This highlights the importance of creating something that endures beyond one’s own existence.
- Creating something enduring is valuable: This theme is closely related to the idea of legacy. The speaker suggests that having a son is one way to create something enduring. However, there are other ways to achieve this as well, such as creating works of art, writing, or making a positive impact on the world through one’s actions.
SETTING OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Sonnet 7 by William Shakespeare does not have a specific setting, but it uses the rising and setting sun as a metaphor to convey its themes. The sonnet begins with the image of the sun rising in the east, and people admiring it with reverence and awe. It then describes how the sun’s beauty begins to fade as it reaches its peak, and eventually it sets in the west, no longer attracting the same level of attention. This metaphorical setting emphasizes the transient nature of beauty and admiration, and the inevitability of aging and mortality.
CONCLUSION OF SONNET 7: Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Sonnet 7 by William Shakespeare is a contemplation on the transience of life and the importance of procreation. The sonnet uses the metaphor of the sun to convey the idea that youth and beauty are ephemeral. Leaving a legacy through progeny or accomplishments is crucial; otherwise, one’s beauty and achievements will be forgotten. The sonnet urges the speaker’s beloved to procreate, ensuring the perpetuation of his beauty and name for future generations.
Overall, Sonnet 7 is a poignant reminder of the impermanence of life and the power of procreation to extend one’s influence beyond one’s own brief existence.