Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 77

This sonnet is a reflection on, or from, sonnet # 20 regarding the beauties of the young man. The first line of sonnet # 77 brings out the original beauties from the painting by nature of the person’s face in the following line: “Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear.” Here we find the young man is aging and his beauties are diminishing. For example line # 1 of sonnet # 20 states: “A Woman’s face, with Nature’s own hand painted.” In these examples, one is able to see the contrasting and comparing between the two sonnets. To further bring this comparison to light, line # 5 of sonnet # 77 also states: “The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show.” Here we find an extension of the comparative analysis between sonnet # 20 and sonnet # 77 regarding the beauties of the young man in a greater light.

Additionally, this sonnet is one of a communicative nature. The poet has given the young man a book to record his activities. The poet has also come to the realization that aging may cause the brain to forget things; therefore, keeping a record of activities should refresh the memory of the young man. For example line # 4 of sonnet # 77 states as follows: “And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.” In this line the correlation of the brain and sense of sight should leave a lasting memory. Also, to solidify this bond, line # 12 states: “To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.” In analysis, this shows that a short pencil is better than a long memory, especially when the memory is failing with the young man’s corresponding beauties.

Furthermore, one could look especially at these sonnets as a bonding mechanism between the poet and the subject. These sonnets have become a social bonding tool between them. The gift of the notebook to the young man addresses this class dynamic of communication and bonding. As an example, line # 14, which is the second line of the theme states: “Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book.” Here, the poet is communicating to the young man whom the book will be of great value as a tool of profit to him during his aging process. Finally, as the mirror reflects the beauties of the young man when he was young, so will the notebook reflect the beauties of such person as he ages. Additionally, as his appearance changes, the mirror will reflect its corresponding nature in the future.