Shakespeare's Sonnets Essay

1325 words - 6 pages

Shakespeare’s sonnets

The author and the period:
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright. His extant works consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, two epitaphs on a man named John Combe, one epitaph on Elias James, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into most of the language and are still performed in the theatre nowadays.
Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway and they had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a ...view middle of the document...


A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem, traditionally written in iambic pentameter, that is, in lines ten syllables long, with accents falling on every second syllable.

-Sonnet 1:

In the first sonnet the author desires that beautiful creatures to multiply, in order to preserve their “beauty’s rose” for the world. So, when the parents die the child continues their beauty. In the second quatrain, the speaker quarrels the young man he loves for being too pensive to think of procreation. The speaker says that this makes the young man his own enemy. In the third quatrain, he argues that the young man may now be beautiful—he is “the world’s fresh ornament but that, in time, his beauty will reduce. The speaker asks the young man to “pity the world” and reproduce, or else be a glutton.

The first sonnet introduces many of the themes that the author will talk about such as: beauty, the passage of human life in time, the ideas of virtue. The logical structure of the sonnet is simple: the first quatrain states that beauty should strive to propagate itself; the second quatrain accuses the young man of violating it.

-Sonnet 2:
Shakespeare opens this sonnet up with a metaphor, although he hides it a little bit. So here the young man's forehead is being compared to the wall of a castle, which is under siege by the armies of time and old age. Then, the speaker tries another metaphor, comparing youth and old age with different kinds of clothing.
• The author asks the young man to imagine what it will be like to be that old. In the fifth line he repeats the same idea as line four, but with different words: he is talking about beauty and happiness of being young. In the line number 10 the speaker offers a solution to the problems of old age: Having a baby.
• He also thinks that the young man is wasting his beauty, he isn’t doing anything with it. The speaker suggests that having a child is the closest thing to being born again because you can look at your son and feel young and alive again.
-Sonnet 3:
The speaker tells the young man to look in the "glass" (mirror) and suggests him to change his face. He tells him that if he does not renew his reflection then he will be cheating the world. The second quatrain uses the metaphor of cultivating land to talk about how profitable it would be to have a child. The speaker tells the young man that there isn't any young woman who wouldn't want to be the mother of your children. In this quatrain he guides the young man to the "right" decision asking questions. The speaker tells the young man that he is his mother's "glass," and when she looks at him she recalls that lovely April (spring) of her youth. The author suggests the young man not to waste his youth. The speaker warns the...

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