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Shakespeare's Sonnets

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2002

    The Most Sublime Expressions of Love

    Shakespeare's magnificent sonnets represent the most sublime expressions of love ever set down in the English language. In the England of Shakespeare's day, sonnets were thought to be extraordinarily personal expressions of love and devotion and were usually only given to one's close friends and those whom one loved. Sonnets were not really written to be published and it is generally thought that Shakespeare did not prepare these sonnets for publication. Most of these sonnets, written between 1594 and 1597, are addressed to, or mention, a fair boy or a dark lady. Shakespeare never mentioned the name of the persons to whom the sonnets were addressed and so there has been much speculation as to their identity but no clear-cut answers. When studying the sonnets, it is impossible to single one out without reference to another. The full meaning of the sonnets really only becomes clear once they are considered together, as a whole. A sonnet with a certain meaning may be immediately followed by one that conveys just the opposite. The sonnets thus build on, cancel out and are formed by each other. Their meanings are entirely relative to what comes before and what goes after. The first 126 sonnets are clearly addressed to a young man, whom Shakespeare called 'beauty's rose.' It is clear that Shakespeare's love for this young boy is only platonic; in fact, in the first 27 sonnets he strongly urges the boy to get married and have children. Betrayal is the theme of the following 100 sonnets, as Shakespeare acknowledges the affairs of both the young boy and his mistress, mourns his absence and finally forgives the boy all of his various infidelities. The remaining sonnets talk of the dark lady and most people have presumed this to have been Shakespeare's own mistress. The sonnets describe a painful, but extremely loving and private, relationship. The word 'time,' is mentioned and discussed more than 80 times in the sonnets, often being personified and used as though it were a name. Shakespeare tells the young boy that time is causing him (Shakespeare) to grow old and to draw hideously close to death. Then he goes on to say that time, too, will eventually rob the young man of both his beauty and his youth. In fact, throughout the sonnets, Shakespeare presents time as both a protagonist and an aggressor. Many of the sonnets encourage the young boy to marry and have children as a way of combating the evils of time. When it becomes clear, however, that the boy is opposed to marriage, Shakespeare then encourages him to turn to the composition of poetry as a way of overcoming the tyranny of time. Sonnet 116 discusses the final opponent of time and the thing most effective in conquering it--Love. The foundation for this theme of love was built up gradually in several of the earlier sonnets in which Shakespeare comes to the conclusion that only love can shelter us from the ravages of both time and death. The conclusion he draws in Sonnet 116 is that love, despite time, is a constant. Once you are familiar with these gorgeous sonnets you will be able to read and understand them out of context. And, just because many of them were written for a young boy does not mean they are not love poetry of the highest order. Shakespeare stands alone, of course. These are the most sublime expressions of love ever recorded in the English language. Don't miss them.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2011

    Do not get the free versions

    Do not waste your time getting the free version of classics! They are not worth is. Either they do not open or the text/format is all messed up and there are random symbols through out the words/sentences. Kind of hard to read poetry when the format is all messed up... That aside, Shakespeare's sonnets are pretty good if you enjoy poetry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2002

    Simply Magnificent !!

    The sonnets are inspiring and packed full of wisdom. I carry this book everywhere!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2013

    Beautiful Sonnets Everyone has their own favorite poets but the

    Beautiful Sonnets
    Everyone has their own favorite poets but the one of the most recognizable names in literature is William Shakespeare. 
    Not only did his beautiful sonnets that popularized his name, even the Queen of England attended his plays.
    Sonnets are meant to have more personal writing tone and Shakespeare did not hold back for his main theme
     of love. Although a lot of sonnets made people question about his sexuality. However his writing will always be
     remembered.

    Just like in paintings, we always remember and respect the originals including Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, etc.
    Just like in poetry, it is William Shakespeare who is an original, one we will never disregard. Most of his sonnets
     are written about love yet some have a little twist and some include tragedy. For example, sonnet 130
    "My mistress eyes are like the sun", praises the woman's body. Among his many popular sonnets, it is sonnet 18
     that is most recognizable from the first two lines, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely
     and more temperate:" For his dark twisted love side would be sonnet 129. This sonnet describes that lust is
    happy when satisfied. His 154 sonnets can be read and enjoyed in this book.
      

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