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Sonnet Essay Victoria Jensen 6/31/13 Larry Edgerton

In Sonnet 55, eyes represent humankind and love itself, while in Sonnet 56 eyes represent the subjects own cognizance of love. Sonnet 55 has two uses of the word eyes, in line 14, in which each represent something different. Sonnet 56 also only has one use, in line 6. The Sonnet 55 first mentions eyes in line 11. The speaker is immortalizing the subject with the lines 10 and 11, ;your praise shall still find room/ Even in the eyes of all posterity. Here, the word eyes are conveying all future human beings of the world. And because of the part before that, those people will still be praising the subject, even after that subject has passed on. The speaker concludes his sentiments about the subject in the last line of Sonnet 55 with, You live in this and dwell in lovers eyes. Here, eyes can represent the eyes of everyone that knew the subject and loved him, or it can mean that the subject is Love itself. This would be because the subject, as Love, would dwell in all lovers eyes (as an emotion) just as he lives in the poem. It is essential to the entire meaning of the sonnet itself, because throughout the sonnet, the speaker emphasizes the subjects superiority to the poem and all entities in the world. This can be seen in lines 7 and 8, Nor Mars his sword nor wars quick fire shall burn/ The living record of your memory. The subject will survive even the harshest of wars, and his memory will live on. But because of the two different possible interpretations of eyes, the subject could

either be living on as his own memory (as a person), or as love itself. He is immortalized in two respects, both in the poem, and as love in all of humanity. The meaning of eyes in Sonnet 56 has an entirely different meaning to those in Sonnet 56, as it represents the subjects own cognizance of love, as opposed to the world or love itself. In lines 5 and 6 it says, So, love, be thou: although today thou fill/ Thy hungry eyes even till they wink with fullness. The speaker wants the subject to be like love, and notes that the subject is hungry to see love until they are filled with it. Eyes here has both a literal and figurative meaning. They are the eyes of the subject, but they also represent the subjects awareness and appreciation of love. It plays an important role in the poem as a wholes meaning because the speaker wants the subject to remember his appreciation of love, as the speaker and subject are separated. He doesnt want the subjects love to be overcome by lust as seen in lines 1 and 2, Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said/ Thy edge should blunter be then appetite. The speaker hopes that the appreciation of love in the eyes of the subject will make up for the separation and help him appreciate the rarity of what they have. Both Sonnets usage of the word eyes is important to its message, but their meanings are notably different. In Sonnet 55, the first time eyes is used is to represent humanity in order to help immortalize the subject in the poem. The second time is significantly more important to the message of the poem because eyes, specifically lovers eyes conveys the message that the subject is like Love itself and is therefore more important than even the subject as himself. In Sonnet 56 eyes are important in conveying the speakers message to the subject to appreciate the love he has, they represent the subjects own cognizance of love. But however different the word eyes is used, they both play an essential role to the entirety of the poems message.