“The theme of mutability is a well-marked aspect of the Shakespearean sonnets.” Discuss with reference to the Sonnet No. 18.

In Sonnet 18, Shakespeare stresses on the mutability of the natural world as well as the human physique which stand helpless to endure the wrecks of time. A summer day is rich in the splendour of nature but it is not beyond the reach of the destructive hands of time. The rough wind of scorching summer sheds the tender buds of May. Besides, the summer season lasts only for a stipulated period of time. The sun shines too brightly but even the brightest, golden rays of the sun fade and every beautiful object eventually falls for the zenith of beauty. This happens due to the inevitable process of decay which creeps in with the passing of time. The phrase ‘every fair from fair sometime declines brings out this fact. This transitoriness in the natural world is not within the control. But Shakespeare believes that his friend’s beauty is not temporary.

How does Shakespeare present the triumph of poetry over mortality in ‘Sonnet No. 18’?

The Sonnet No.18 is a sincere tribute by William Shakespeare to the eternal beauty of his beloved friend. The poet feels the ruinous touch of time on all the elements of nature. The loveliness of summer, the new buds of May, the bright sun and every fair form of nature are subjected to decay. On the contrary, the beauty of his friend is sure to withstand the ravages of time. Therefore it is not going to decline. The poet assures that as long as the human race survives, his friend will live and thrive through his verse. He feels inspired to think that his poetry possesses the power to eternalise his friend’s beauty. His friend will live forever and grow, despite the cruel blow of time, in the lines of his verse, written in praise of his beauty. Thus, the poet depicts the triumph of poetry over the inevitable decay caused by time.

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