The poems “I Have a Rendezvous with Death” by Alan Seegerand Sonnet 60 by William Shakespeare both share the topic of death. Sonnet 60 presentsa theme of death being inescapable due to the continuing destructiveness oftime. “I Have a Rendezvous with Death” presents a theme of death being welcomedand not feared despite it being inevitable and unpredictable. WilliamShakespeare and Alan Seeger both uses literary devices in their poems toillustrate their respective themes about death.In Sonnet 60, William Shakespeare describes the inevitabilityof death through the ravages of time.
Time is an abstract concept andShakespeare uses the concrete image of waves to illustrate it. The simileassociated with waves represents time. The waves and time are similar becausethey both are continuous and replace itself consistently. The poet writes that “asthe waves make towards the pebbled shore, / So do our minutes hasten to theirend; / Each changing place with that which goes before (Shakespeare 1-3). Thisis significant because the flow of time is being compared to how the wavesreplace one another as they hit the shore in a consistent pattern. The waveskeep building only to hit the shoreline and then be replaced by another.Similarly to the waves, time keeps building and doesn’t stop until death. Thecontinuing cycle of the waves hitting the shore is able to symbolize the continuityof time and the inevitability of death.
The details of life being compared to the sun illustratesthe unfairness of time and death. The phrases “main of light” and “crookedeclipses” implies that life is similar to the sun in the sense that it beginsand ends like the sun rises and falls. The sun gloriously rises where it “crawlsto maturity, wherewith being crown’d” (Shakespeare 6) only to be destroyed by eclipses.The sun is a metaphor for life.
Inreality, Shakespeare is writing that a child is born and matures into adulthoodonly to end up dreading it because of their impending death. Shakespeare proceedsto write that “time that gave, doth now his gift confound” (8). Time has the abilityto both give and take away life.
This is significant because it shows the destructivenessof time. Time is unfair because despite the blessings of life it offers, itwill ultimately end up taking it away. It’s because of this unfairness thatdeath is inevitable.In Sonnet 60, William Shakespeare personifies time tosymbolize its destructiveness. Time “delves the parallels in beauty’s brow, / feedson the rarities of nature’s truth, / and nothing stands but for his scythe tomow” (Shakespeare 10-12). This is significant because time is depicted as aravaging monster that destroy everything in its path. Because of the personifyingof time, Shakespeare is able to emphasize the point that time is the reasonthat death occurs in life.
Through the personification of time the reader isable to better understand and focus on the negative effects of time. Throughoutthe poem, Shakespeare progressively shows time as becoming more and more destructiveto where all it leaves in its wake is death. Time is destructive because it is continuous,a beginning and an end, and unforgiving. It’s because of these ruinous traitsthat death is inescapable.