According to Shakespeare, what are the things that cannot stand the ravages of time?

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A few things are listed in this sonnet that cannot withstand the ravages of time, but the focus of the poem is on the fleeting nature of beauty. To emphasize this, the author draws a comparison between the obvious impermanence of beautiful things, such as the lifespan of a ...

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A few things are listed in this sonnet that cannot withstand the ravages of time, but the focus of the poem is on the fleeting nature of beauty. To emphasize this, the author draws a comparison between the obvious impermanence of beautiful things, such as the lifespan of a flower, to more long-lasting things. Shakespeare writes that even strong and sturdy objects built to last, such as brass, as well as the oldest and most enduring things he can think of, like the ocean and the earth, are all subject to mortality. If even the sturdiest things will not escape time in the end, what is the point of beauty, which lasts a much shorter amount of time?

This anxiety over the fading of beauty reaches a conclusion at the end of the sonnet. There, the speaker suggests that he will immortalize beauty with the very poem we are reading when he writes, "That in black ink my love may still shine bright." He has been successful thus far, given that we are still reading it hundreds of years later.

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