Sharing Feelings In The Sonnets


Sharing Feelings In The Sonnets Essay, Research Paper

Shakespeare, as well as writing

many famous plays is also noted for his sonnets. A sonnet is traditionally a

fourteen-line poem, Shakespeare mostly wrote his sonnets about love. It was

traditional during the Elizabethan age, for gentlemen to write love sonnets

about their lover and give it to her. It was the way men used to woe women they

liked. Shakespeare wrote one hundred and

fifty four sonnets and due to the number and their consistent quality, his

particular style became known as ?the Shakespearean sonnet form?.? A Shakespearean sonnet has fourteen lines,

broken down into three quatrains and ending with a rhyming couplet. In each quatrain a different

subject is discussed and described, the subject is then changed at the start of

each new quatrain. A Shakespearean sonnet has the

rhyming pattern ABABCDCDEFEFGG. For example in ?Shall compare thee?, the first

quatrain shows this rhyming pattern, it is at the beginning so is the ABAB

part.?Shall I compare

thee to a Summers day? Thou art more

lovely and more temperate: Rough windes do

shake the darling buds of Maie, And Sommers lease

hath all too short a date: The rhyming couplet, i.e. GG,

often finishes a Shakespearean sonnet, for example the last two lines of ?Let

me not?. This type of ending often ends the poem with a satis factory

conclusion, as below illustrates.?If this be error

and upon me proved, I never writ, nor

man ever loved.? This essay will explore and

explain how Shakespeare expressed his feelings about love and eternity through

his sonnets. Two of Shakespeare?s most famous sonnets will be used to

illustrate the findings. These will be ?Shall I compare thee?.?? Sonnet

XVII (18) and ?Let me not? sonnet CXVI (116). ?Shall I Compare thee??? is

probably Shakespeare?s most famous sonnet. The sonnet is written by Shakespeare

about and to a woman he loves. In the sonnet he describes the beauty of the

woman and he debates whether or not to compare her to a summer?s day. ?Shall I compare thee to a Summers day?? The poem opens with the question

above and follows with two quatrains debating whether she is as lovely as the

summertime. These lines express the feelings he has for the woman and show how

beautiful he thinks his lover is. Shakespeare wants to compare the

woman to a perfect summers day, where it is warm, sunny, gentle and fair. However he finds fault with his

comparison. The summer?s day is found to be less than perfect. In lines 2,3 and 4 he compliments

the woman by saying that her beauty is more perfect than the beauty of a

summer?s day, as her beauty is more ?temperate? than an English summer.

An English summer is often windy and short.?Thou art more

temperate: Rough windes do

shake the darling buds of Maie, And Sommers lease

hath all too short a date:? With the beginning of the second

quatrain he describes how the sun in the summertime is less than perfect. He

uses a metaphor to describe the sun; he calls it ?the eye of heaven?. Shakespeare tells of how the sun

can be too hot in the summer and its light can be dimmed by clouds and overcast

weather.?Sometimes too hot the eye of Heaven shines? And often his gold

complexion dim?d, In Line 6 he uses personification

to describe the sun. Shakespeare refers to the sun as ?he?, giving the sun

human qualities. The sun?s colour and light is referred to as a ?gold

complexion?. This is also personification, as complexion is a word used to

describe a humans? skin. Shakespeare writes that summer

can be beautiful but at some point it declines from its previous beauty and

perfection.?And fair from fair some-time declines,?After complementing his

sweetheart by contrasting her beauty with summer?s flaws, he suggests that she

is more beautiful than a summer?s day, as she will not lose her beauty or

perfection. This compliment is backed up by

Shakespeare saying that her perfection and the love he has for her will live on

through death and never fade, like a summer?s day does. This is due to this

sonnet. Shakespeare is saying in the last

two lines, that, as long as people are alive, these verses will live on

celebrating her beauty and the love he has for her.?So long as men

can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this

and this gives life to thee.??Shall I compare thee???

shows how strong Shakespeare?s feelings were for his lover. His emotions really

come over through his disguised and obvious compliments and contrasts. He

thinks she is beautiful and, unlike a summer?s day, her perfection will not

fade, as this very sonnet is written to illustrate and capture the woman?s

beauty and the love he has for her. ? ?Let me not..? is another

sonnet written by Shakespeare. This sonnet is not praising a loved one, it is

written to teach people about love. In fact the content of the sonnet may even

be written to warn people about love, which may not be ?real?, as Shakespeare

seems more bitter than in love. He begins by saying he doesn?t

want to hinder the marriage of like-minded people, but to take note about what

he has to say. The poem is written in a negative context to emphasise the

positive aspects of love.?Let me not to the marriage of true mindes? Shakespeare explains that people must admit that there

are certain barriers, which prevent love being ?real? love. His next two lines

make their point by having a repetitive word, such as alter and alteration.?Admit

impediments, love is not love Which alters when

it alteration findes, Or bends with the

remover to remove.? Shakespeare means by these lines

that love is not love if one person is changed by the other, or because of the

love, they both change. He wants to make his point clear

that love is to be kept the same; it must never change, as it is an everlasting

thing.In the second quatrain, lines

5,6,7 and 8, a theme develops. These phrases explain his thoughts on love and

how even the biggest problems cannot change ?real? love. He uses metaphors in

the shape of old nautical terms to show this. The use of nautical terms as

metaphors is quite fitting for the time in which Shakespeare wrote his sonnet.

The Elizabethan age was a time of great exploration by famous seafarers, such

as Sir Francis Drake, who notoriously circumnavigated the globe and pirated

Spanish ships. Also during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh,

was another great adventurer. From his travels, Raleigh introduced potatoes and

tobacco to England. He also helped to fight against the Spanish Armada. To represent love he uses

?marke?, to represent the problems he uses ?tempest?. A marke is a fixed guide, which

helps sailors to navigate their course correctly. A tempest is a storm, so like

a marke, being unshakable against even the strongest storm; love is also

unshakable by problems. The mariner theme is also used again to represent and

reinforce the permanence of ?real? love. Stars were used to help guide sailors.

A star is fixed in the sky, in the same position and it follows a fixed course.

This use of permanence again is to reinforce the idea that ?real? love is

unshakable. ?O? no, it is an

ever fixed marke That lookes on

tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to

every wandering barke, Whose worths

unknowne,although his highth be taken. After making his point that

problems cannot change ?real? love, in this quatrain he explains how time cannot

change ?real? love. He explains that the beauty may

go due to time, but ?real? love does not alter, it continues right up until

death.Lov?s not Times foole, though rsie lips and cheeks Within his sickles

bending compasse come, Love alters not

with his breefe houres and weekes, But bears it out

even to the edge of doome: Shakespeare explains that two

people who are in ?real? love don?t change because of it, problems cannot

change their love for each other and although time may change beauty, time will

not hinder ?real? love and it will continue until the death of both partners. Shakespeare is convinced that this is true and to show

how strongly he believes this, he makes two important statements:?If this be error

and upon me proved, I never writ, nor

no man ever loved.? By this he means that if he is

wrong and it is proved against him, he has never written anything and no man

has ever loved. We know that neither of these

statements is wrong, as Shakespeare wrote many famous plays and sonnets and

falling in love is part of the human nature, so Shakespeare must be right. The

two passages also convey a certain smugness Shakespeare has, due to his social

and literary skills.In both ?Shall I compare

thee??? and ?Let me not? Shakespeare communicates passion and

feeling. In ?Shall I compare thee???

it is the passion for a woman, and how beautiful and perfect she is. In ?Let me not? he is

passionate about warning people about love which is not true; to prove this he

shows what true love is like. Shakespeare effectively uses

metaphors to represent ideas and story comparisons. These help to enforce ideas

in the mind of the reader and they communicate how passionately Shakespeare

feels about certain subjects. Shakespeare?s love sonnets

communicate feelings through language and his obvious experience, through being

in love.

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