Pages: 7 (2567 words) /
Published: May 8th, 2010
Shakespeare’s Sonnets William Shakespeare (1564- 1616) is one of the greatest writers in the English language. He was a poet and playwright whose works have been translated into every major language and whose plays are still performed more often than the works of any other playwright today. His surviving works include 38 plays and 154 sonnets, which are often regarded as the greatest romantic love poetry ever written. Although Shakespeare’s Sonnets are widely believed to be the greatest romantic love poetry ever written, a careful examination reveals that these sonnets are often misunderstood. The sonnets are dominated by themes of procreation, greed, selfishness, and the ravages of time. These themes overshadow Shakespeare’s discussion of romantic love and love is more often depicted as a trial rather than a joy. Shakespeare’s sonnets are about his two loves. The first 126 sonnets were actually written to a man whom Shakespeare calls his “light and fair love” while the remaining 28 were written to a “dark lady” or “mistress” for whom his lust caused him great distress. In all of his sonnets, Shakespeare lets the reader know that love carries with it a multitude of burdens, deceptions, and disappointments, regardless of the identity or gender of the lovers. The themes of procreation, greed, selfishness, and the ravages of time overshadow the theme of romantic love throughout Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The sonnets are filled with pleas from Shakespeare to his lover to have a child to save his beauty for coming generations (Heylin 189). Procreation is the goal of marriage and a child proves your beauty’s existence when your own beauty fades. A child eternalizes beauty and secures your own beauty by his very being (Heylin 191). In Sonnet 1, Shakespeare urges his fair love, a young man, to have a child for this very reason so that his “beauty’s rose might never die”. He further adds, “His tender heir might bear his memory”. In Sonnet 2 Shakespeare asks
Cited: Gordon, Helen, Heightsman. The Secret Love Story in Shakespeare 's Sonnets. New York: Xlibris Corporation, 2005. Print.
Heylin, Clinton. So Long as Men Can Breathe: The Untold Story of Shakespeare 's
Sonnets. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2009. Print.
Matz, Robert. World of Shakespeare 's Sonnets: An Introduction. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co., 2008. Print.
Schiffer, James. Shakespeare 's Sonnets Critical Essays (Shakespeare Criticism, 20).
Grand Rapids: Garland, 2000. Print.
Shakespeare Sonnet. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. .
Shakespeare, William. The Sonnets (Shakespeare 's Sonnets). Stilwell: Digireads.com, 2005. Print.
Vendler, Helen. The Art of Shakespeare 's Sonnets. Cambridge: Belknap, 1999. Print.