Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare: In this sonnet, the poet contemplates the fleeting nature of human life and the passage of time. Using eloquent and evocative language, Shakespeare explores the themes of love, mortality, and the enduring power of poetry. Through the artful interplay of imagery and emotion, the sonnet captures the essence of the human experience and serves as a timeless reflection on the impermanence of existence.
Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare
No longer mourn for me when I am dead Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell Give warning to the world that I am fled From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell; Nay, if you read this line, remember not The hand that writ it; for I love you so, That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, If thinking on me then should make you woe. O, if (I say) you look upon this verse, When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay, Do not so much as my poor name rehearse, But let your love even with my life decay, Lest the wise world should look into your moan, And mock you with me after I am gone.
Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare Summary
1- No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Summary: The poet asks the reader not to grieve for him after he dies.
2- Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Summary: The “surly sullen bell” refers to the tolling of funeral bells.
3- Give warning to the world that I am fled
Summary: The poet asks the funeral bells to announce his departure from the world.
4- From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Summary: He desires to leave this corrupt world and reside with worms in the grave.
5- Nay, if you read this line, remember not
Summary: The poet advises the reader to forget him entirely if they read this sonnet.
6- The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
Summary: He doesn’t want the reader to remember the hand that wrote this sonnet, as he loves them so deeply.
7- That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
Summary: He wishes to be forgotten by the reader so that they can think sweet thoughts without sorrow.
8- If thinking on me then should make you woe.
Summary: The poet fears that remembering him might cause the reader sorrow.
9- O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
Summary: The poet urges the reader that if they do come across this sonnet,
10- When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Summary: He refers to his body becoming one with the earth after death.
11- Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
Summary: The poet doesn’t want even his name to be mentioned or spoken of.
12- But let your love even with my life decay;
Summary: He suggests that the reader’s love for him should diminish as his life ends.
13- Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
Summary: He advises this so the world won’t scrutinize or judge the reader’s grieving.
14- And mock you with me after I am gone.
Summary: He fears the world might ridicule the reader for mourning him once he’s gone.
Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare Complete Summary
Sonnet 71 is a poignant reflection on the speaker’s mortality and the concern for the well-being of a loved one after his death. The poem delves into the theme of the passage of time and the inevitability of death.
In the first quatrain, the speaker acknowledges his aging and impending death. He refers to himself as “old,” suggesting that he is aware of his advancing age and the transient nature of life. The phrase “When I am gone” implies that the speaker contemplates his mortality and what will happen after he dies.
The second quatrain continues this theme, where the speaker expresses concern for the person he loves. He uses the metaphor of the “surly sullen bell” tolling to symbolize the funeral bell that signals death. The speaker worries that his loved one will grieve for him after his passing, and he doesn’t want to be the cause of their sorrow.
In the third quatrain, the speaker contemplates how he wishes to be remembered after he is gone. He asks his loved one to remember him but not to mourn too much. The image of “black stage” refers to the stage of mourning, urging the loved one not to indulge in excessive grief.
The final couplet emphasizes the ephemeral nature of life and love. The speaker acknowledges that he won’t be around forever, but his passion for the other person will continue even after death. He hopes that his love will remain cherished and remembered in his absence.
In summary, Sonnet 71 reflects the speaker’s awareness of his mortality and his concern for the well-being of his loved one after he passes away. It explores the themes of aging, the passage of time, and the enduring nature of love, even in the face of death.
Sonnet 71 by Shakespeare Critical Analyze
“Sonnet 71” by William Shakespeare is a poignant exploration of mortality, love, and the power of remembrance. Through its evocative language and imagery, the sonnet delves into the theme of impermanence and the poet’s desire for his memory to fade away after death. Let’s conduct a critical analysis of the sonnet:
- Structure and Form: “Sonnet 71” follows the typical Shakespearean sonnet structure, consisting of 14 lines written in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is ABABCDCDEFEFGG, adhering to the sonnet’s traditional pattern. This structured form allows Shakespeare to convey his thoughts concisely while maintaining a harmonious flow.
- Theme of Mortality: The central theme of the sonnet revolves around the poet’s contemplation of his mortality. He acknowledges the inevitability of death (“No longer mourn for me when I am dead”) and expresses his willingness to depart from this world, likening the grave to a dwelling place for “vilest worms.” Shakespeare confronts the transient nature of life, presenting death as a natural part of the human experience.
- Love and Separation: Shakespeare addresses a beloved throughout the sonnet, emphasizing his deep affection (“for I love you so”). He implores this person not to mourn him after his passing, expressing concern that the memory of him might cause sorrow. The poet’s request for separation after death reveals a complex emotional struggle. On the one hand, he wishes to protect his loved one from pain, while on the other, he acknowledges the depth of their bond.
- Power of Words and Remembrance: Shakespeare reflects on the lasting impact of his words and how they might be remembered even after he is gone. He urges the reader not even to mention his name, fearing that the memory of him could bring sadness. This raises the question of the poet’s desire for legacy and the awareness of the potential influence of his poetry on future generations.
- Vanity and Humility: The sonnet conveys a sense of humility and a rejection of vanity. Shakespeare does not want to be glorified or remembered extensively after his death. Instead, he embraces the modesty of a fading existence, hoping to spare others from the burden of grief.
- Universality and Timelessness: The themes explored in “Sonnet 71” transcend time and resonate with readers across different generations. The contemplation of mortality, love, and the desire for remembrance are universal human experiences. As with many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, the poem’s emotional depth and profound insights allow it to endure and retain relevance for contemporary audiences.
In conclusion, “Sonnet 71” is a masterful reflection on mortality, love, and the power of remembrance. Shakespeare’s skillful use of poetic language and profound insights into the human condition make this sonnet a timeless piece of literature, continuing to evoke emotions and provoke contemplation among readers even centuries after its composition.
Q: What is the central theme of Sonnet 71?
A: The main themes of Sonnet 71 are mortality, love, and the enduring power of poetry. The poet contemplates his mortality and desires for his memory to fade away after death. He addresses a beloved, urging them not to mourn him, and reflects on the ability of his poetry to outlast his physical existence.
Q: What is the rhyme scheme of Sonnet 71?
A: Sonnet 71 follows the traditional Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme: ABABCDCDEFEFGG. This means the first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth lines, and so on, until the final couplet.
Q: What is the significance of the “surly sullen bell” in the sonnet?
A: The phrase “surly sullen bell” in the first quatrain refers to the tolling of funeral bells. It serves as a symbol of death and signals the poet’s departure from the world.
Q: Why does the poet ask his beloved not to remember him after death?
A: The poet asks his beloved not to remember him after death out of selfless love and concern for their well-being. He wishes to spare them from grief and sorrow, believing remembering him might cause them pain. This act of selflessness emphasizes the depth of their emotional bond.
Q: What does the poet mean by “compounded am with clay” in Sonnet 71?
A: In the ninth line of the sonnet, the phrase “compounded am with clay” refers to the poet’s body after death. It suggests that his body will return to the earth and become one with clay or soil, emphasizing the transient nature of human life.
Q: How does Shakespeare view the power of poetry in Sonnet 71?
A: In Sonnet 71, Shakespeare acknowledges the enduring power of poetry. While he asks his beloved not to remember him personally, he recognizes that the verses he leaves behind will continue to exist. Through his poetry, he believes his thoughts and emotions can transcend time, allowing a part of him to live on even after his physical death.
Q: Is Sonnet 71 autobiographical?
A: No definitive evidence suggests that Sonnet 71 is autobiographical. While many of Shakespeare’s sonnets are thought to be inspired by his personal experiences, they often explore universal themes that resonate with a broader audience. Sonnet 71’s themes of mortality, love, and the power of poetry are timeless and may not necessarily reflect specific events from Shakespeare’s life.
Q: What is the overall tone of Sonnet 71?
A: The overall tone of Sonnet 71 is contemplative and reflective. The poet confronts the reality of mortality with a sense of acceptance and detachment while expressing deep love and concern for his beloved. The tone is thoughtful and emotional, inviting readers to reflect on the impermanence of life and the complexities of love and remembrance.
Q: When was Sonnet 71 written and published?
A: Sonnet 71 was written by William Shakespeare in the early 17th century. It was part of a more extensive collection of 154 sonnets, published in 1609 in a volume titled “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.”