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Themes

Love and Time. Mrs. Pots sings about it. Pitbull sings about it. It's one of the great themes of poetry and it runs like a ribbon through Shakespeare's sonnets. So what does it all mean? To put it simply, time is gonna take down love. We all get old and bald, forget the names of those we once loved, and relax in our recliners as our lives slowly dissolve over the years. But our speaker in Sonnet 55 doesn't take this sitting down. In his sonnets he mounts a tricky and passionate resistance movement against time and its tyranny over young lovers everywhere. By writing this poem, he turns the tables on time and outwits even death itself. His art makes his love eternal.

Questions About Time

  1. How is time characterized in this sonnet?
  2. What is the relationship between time and violence?
  3. Is time ever good for love? If so, when?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In Sonnet 55, time's characterization as a lazy, repulsive, super-slob makes it less dangerous than war.

Time is characterized as an ambivalent force in Sonnet 55, destroying without motivation. Heads up, everybody.

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