Imagery in Sonnet 5

Imagery Examples in Sonnet 5:

Sonnet 5 2

"A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,..."   (Sonnet 5)

The image of summer’s distillation operates on three levels. On one level, the image is that of a glass vial of rosewater. On another level, the youth’s essence—or “substance”—is trapped forever; he becomes a prisoner watching life carry on outside his confines. On a third level, the very poem itself can be seen as the “walls of glass” which encase the youth. Each line of poetry is a “wall” that must be seen through in order to discover the meaning within. The poem’s meaning, of course, is “liquid”: open to interpretation and change, impossible to pin down.

"lusty..."   (Sonnet 5)

“Lusty” in this context means joyful, merry, or lively. The speaker juxtaposes “lusty” with the “frost” here to collapse the time between the joyful summer and barren winter. He uses this imagery to demonstrate how quickly life, youth, and beauty can become bareness and decay.