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Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet Not Marble, Nore the Gilded Monuments

Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet "Not Marble, Nore the Gilded Monuments"

Shakespeare's sonnet LV entitled "Not marble, nor the gilded monuments" is a well-crafted poem. In the first line Shakespeare uses a word, namely gilded, that can mean more than one thing. I also found this word of interest because I had never heard of it. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary to gild can have six different meanings; (1) to overlay with or as if with a thin covering of gold; (2) to give money; (3) to give an attractive but often deceptive appearance to; (4) to make bloody; (5) to add unnecessary ornamentation to something beautiful in its own right; and (6) to make superfluous additions to what is already complete. The word is Middle English; from the Old English word gyldan alike to the Old English gold. The Middle English use of this word is dated in the 14th century, this makes since because Shakespeare was born in 1564, thus placing the origination of gild before his use of it in Sonnet LV. Shakespeare also uses gild in two of his plays, "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily" from Shakespeare's King John, and "Gilded tombs do worms enfold" from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. The use of gild in this two plays hint to me that he purposely uses gild to mean different things.

To overlay with gold is the most straightforward definition of gild. Shakespeare is telling the person for whom his is writing that with this poem his memories of that person will outlive the monuments of today. He is proclaiming that the pyramids overlaid with gold, the palatial tombs left to princes and royalty is nothing to the memorial of words he has left his love. The work of the mason and of the statute maker will perish under war brought by tyrants, greed, and sin. But his words will not come undone by any man or godly power to the end of time as he states in line 7, "Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn the living record of your memory". His rime or rhyme will survive world without end.

What is money or death when you're making tributes? The second and the fourth definition of gild, to give money and to make bloody, respectively, speak to how physical commemorations were...

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