Shakespeare's Sonnet 16 and 17

Death and being forgotten are some of the biggest fears felt by humans. People look for different ways to be remembered by the future generations. Powerful people, such as pharaohs, ordered huge pyramids to be built as their tombs in order to maintain the memory of them after they die. Another way to win against the passage of time is by poetry. The Ancient Greek poet Horace wrote that good poetry is more permanent than bronze and that it can assure eternal life for a poet. William Shakespeare in his sonnets also discusses the problem of immortality. Most of his sonnets discussing this issue state clearly which way, poetry or procreation, is better to preserve the memory of the young man. Only Sonnets 16 and 17 are controversial because there are not provide a clear statement, but rather a comparison of two ways. The Speaker in these Sonnets seems to be in favor of procreation; however, a closer look indicates that also in these sonnets poetry is treated as a more reliable way to achieve immortality.
      At first, Sonnets 16 and 17 give the impression that the speaker favors procreation over poetry. This opinion relates to the fact that the Speaker throughout the Sonnets lists the advantages of procreation over poetry. However, a mysterious ending of   Sonnet 17 makes readers think again before making the final decision about which way is better in achieving immortality. In the last line the Speaker states that not only children but also poetry will give the young man eternal life. This kind of puzzling ending weakens the argument used to support procreation earlier in the poems; therefore, the whole argumentation against poetry becomes less powerful and less convincing. Additionally, this ending casts doubt on the real intention of the Speaker. As a result, the readers may have second thoughts about the Speaker’s approach to procreation as a serious way of sustaining the memory of the young man.
The most important goal for the Speaker in these Sonnets is to...