Imagery in Sonnet 73

Imagery Examples in Sonnet 73:

Sonnet 73 3

"Consumed..."   (Sonnet 73)

The imagery that the speaker creates here – fire being consumed by that which gave it birth; the death-bed and youth being inextricably linked — alludes to the idea of the phoenix. A phoenix is a mythological bird that lives for a century, self-immolates, and is then reborn from the ashes. The phoenix is a symbol for immortality and the cyclical nature of life and death. This imagery suggests that the speaker’s has an accepting attitude towards inevitable death.

"sweet birds sang..."   (Sonnet 73)

The image of the choir of “sweet birds” that no longer sing reinforces the idea of the speaker’s diminished poetic output . Song and poetry, after all, are classically linked. The ghost of the choir suggests a sense that the speaker’s poetry has dried up, or will.

"in me behold..."   (Sonnet 73)

The speaker uses himself as a frame for all of the imagery he produces in the sonnet’s three quatrains. The autumn scene, the setting sun, and the smoldering fire are all “in me.” He underscores this frame by beginning the second and third quatrains identically, with the phrase “In me thou seest.” This is an imaginative move: the fair youth cannot truly see the speaker’s vivid metaphors.