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Discuss the importance of structure and organisation of ideas in two short texts you have studied. Sonnets 18 and 29 - William Shakespeare

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Introduction

Discuss the importance of structure and organisation of ideas in two short texts you have studied. Sonnets 18 and 29 - William Shakespeare Structure is an essential part of Shakespeare's sonnets and it is important to recognise the structure of a Shakespearean sonnet to be able to follow the ideas he expresses. The sonnet tradition was generally formal and used to express 'courtly love' or expressions of affection. Shakespeare however, while still using the traditional sonnet form, extended it to include ideas of philosophy and social observation that still hold appeal for us today. A Shakespeare sonnet is generally divided into 3 quatrains and a couplet. However, Shakespeare often breaks the rules of the sonnet if he feels that he has a poetic expression that transcends these rules. ...read more.

Middle

The dilemma appears fairly lightweight and mildly contemplative "Shall I compare thee..." In sonnet 29 however the opening statement is more depressive: "When in disgrace..." The second quatrain that follows extends and explores the initial idea in more depth. In sonnet 18 the comparison is extended into quatrain two but becomes more complex and philosophical "Every fair...sometime declines" meaning that everything beautiful fades away. Sonnet 29 begins with a mood of melancholy that expresses the subject's alienation both from society, and 'Fortune.' In the second quatrain the subject becomes less self-reflective and begins an envious comparison with others of more skills and personal features. 'Wishing me like to one more rich in hope.' Typically, the 3rd quatrain begins with a conjunction in both these sonnets that signifies a shift in the argument, away from expressing a problem to addressing or opposing it. ...read more.

Conclusion

are contrasted with a breathlessly soft sibilance; 'So long as men can breathe...can see.' This maintains that the poem itself will give immortality to the friends' loveliness. In sonnet 29 the couplet again reinforces the ideas expressed in the 3rd quatrain by declaring that merely the thought of his friends love is enough to dispel depression 'for thy sweet love...such wealth brings.' Both these sonnets show how effective the structure of Shakespeare's sonnets appears. Yet not all are expressed so neatly or definitely. Sonnet 30 for example appears to be one lengthy complaint continued through all 3 quatrains and only resolved in the couplet. Overall, Shakespeare does appear to be able to effectively express vivid ideas of love, beauty and depression in the sonnet structure but sometimes the sonnet structure itself hinders him and the limitations of 14 lines to express such complex ideas are often too formal and restrictive. ...read more.

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