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Similarities And Differences Between William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 55” And Robert Herrick’s “To The Virgins To Make Much Of Time”

745 words - 3 pages

Similarities and Differences Between William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 55" and Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time"William Shakespeare and Robert Herrick are well-known names. They have written many poems that are still relevant and popular. There are some similarities between certain poems they wrote, which makes it possible to compare specific poems of Shakespeare and Herrick with each other. For example Shakespeare's "Sonnet 55" and Herrick's "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time". Though there are some similarities between these poems, they ultimately do not share the same theme.There are certain similarities to be found between "Sonnet 55" and "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time". In both poems there is a motif of time to be found. In "Sonnet 55" we see it very clearly as Shakespeare compares the enormous amount of time the poem will last opposite to the amount of time ...view middle of the document...

Another similarity is the meter of the poems. Both poets use iambic meter.Not only are there similarities between Shakespeare's "Sonnet 55" and Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", there are clear differences as well. The main theme of "Sonnet 55" seems to be ars longa, vita brevis: art is immortal while life is short. Shakespeare says that nothing will outlive his poem (1-2). A few lines later he says: "'Gainst death, and all-oblivious enmity / Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room" (9-10). Even death will not be able to erase the memory of the subject of the poem. Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" seems to have a carpe diem theme. Herrick uses extensive imagery to show how short life is. The rosebuds in the first line are a metaphor of the virgins. They are still young and pure but time flies and soon they will die. Herrick uses the sun as a metaphor in the same way: "the higher he's a-getting / The sooner will his race be run, / And nearer he's to setting" (6-8). In the last lines of the poem the Virgins are encouraged to get married and get everything they can from life because "For having lost but once your prime / You may forever tarry"(15-16). The ars longa, vita brevis theme used in "Sonnet 55" seems to be the opposite of the carpe diem theme used in "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time".There are similarities to be found between "Sonnet 55" and "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time", like the shared motif of time, the personification of time and the use of iambic meter. There are clear differences as well. The main themes are opposites, Shakespeare's theme being ars longa, vita brevis and Herrick's theme being the carpe diem theme. In conclusion, though there are similarities between these poems, the differences between them are more prominent.Works CitedHerrick, Robert. "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time." The Norton Anthology of English Literature vol. 1. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. 1659. Print.Shakespeare, William. "Sonnet 55." The Norton Anthology of English Literature vol. 1. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006. 1066. Print.

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