Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

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What 3 colours are referenced in Shakespeare's poem? What do they symbolize? Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare.

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lmetcalf eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This sonnet is about the inevitable passage of time.  In the octet (the first 8 lines of the sonnet) the speaker uses several images to convey the reality that everything that is young, alive, and vibrant, will fade away and eventually die.  He uses color imagery to make his point more clear. 

The opening line of the poem establishes the subject:  the clock to always moving forward.  From there the speaker seems to look around him for the evidence of the passing of time.  He notices that the bright sun of the day time fades to a "violet past prime."  He is describing that dark blue/purple sky just before the sky becomes black at night.  There is just a suggestion of light left.  The life of day has faded to the death of night.

The next line compares the sable curls of his hair (or someone's hair.)  Sable hair is a rich dark brown or black.  It the hair of a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 487 words.)

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