Use of imagery in Shakespeare sonnets

Shakespeare’s has a refined sense of incorporating beautiful and exquisite imagery in his plays as well as in his sonnets. He does not indulge into the sentimentality, rather he chooses to write in a language to provoke any feeling he wants in his reader’s mind. Use of poetic imagery is a work of an armature poet. Only a mature and experienced poet can incorporate apt imagery and can stimulate the feelings of his readers.

Imagery is basically the use of language to represent particular objects, feelings, persons, actions, ideas, a state of mind and any sensory and extra-sensory experience. The imagery could be a single word or a phrase. It is used to create an impression in the mind of the reader. Through imagery, the reader gets the impression that he is personally experiencing or watching the event or object defined in the poetry. Shakespeare has the knack of using sensual imageries in his poetry and provoking feelings in the mind of the readers.

Mr. Edward Hubler says about the use of nature imagery of Shakespeare, “He saw nature precisely and always able to find the right word for her (nature) loveliness”. Among all the imageries, the nature imagery of Shakespeare has stricken the chord deep within us.

In sonnet # 60, he uses the imagery of ocean waves and compares them to time. Each wave passes by like every single minute of time. Just like time never returns, the waves also come on shore and do not return             in the same sonnet, the image of different agers of human beings are perfectly stated. Infancy follows by the crawling stage then comes the young age when the abilities of a person are crowned then old age comes, snatches away the brightness of youth, and brings wrinkles with it.

In Sonnet # 18, Shakespeare compares the beauty of his beloved with the beauty of the summer’s day and compels the reader to think about a charming sunny day of the summer. However, as he proceeds he writes that summer day might have some flaws but the beauty of his beloved is flawless and “more lovely and temperate”

The implication of poetic imagery in the sonnets of Shakespeare is beyond comparison. His description exquisite scenes, especially that of nature, has influenced many poets even after. The prudent use of imagery provokes the feelings of the reader and he effortlessly transcends into the realm of the Shakespeare’s world.