The narrator does not speak of his age with anger or remorse, nor does he seem upset by his impending death. On the contrary, the narrator seems to find great comfort in the fact that his lover will appreciate him even more now that he has reached the age in which any breath could possibly be his last. The elements that contribute to this mood are symbols of autumn, twilight, and fire, all of which are beautiful, lovely things. The last two lines of the poem help to confirm how the narrator feels in regard to his old age, stating that, “This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.”
The narrator’s attitude towards the subject matter is unlike that of most people when it comes to the topics of old age and death, as can be seen from the mood of the poem. Far from mentioning the usual topics surrounding death and old age, such as the horrors that they tend to instil on family members and loved ones, the narrator is firm on his opinion that old age and death should be embraced by everyone, declaring it a beautiful thing, albeit sad. The narrator’s opinion is that people that are old and in the slow process of dying because of their age are only loved more by the people that are close to them. The narrator holds no ill feelings towards being old or towards the concept of dying.
The themes of the poem are death, the acceptance of death from both the narrator and his lover, and the beauty of old age. Many people become uncomfortable by the thought or the discussion of death, especially if it involves them or someone close to them that they love, such as a lover. Shakespeare’s sonnet helps to show the less explored aspects of death, such as understanding and embracing the true love that people feel for each other as they realize how close death is. Furthermore, Shakespeare also helps to invoke the appreciation of how beautiful old age really is. instead of viewing it as old and decrepit, he compared it to autumn and .twilight, things that most people view as beautiful and serene.