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Examine Shakespeare’s representation of love in at least two sonnets you have studied

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Examine Shakespeare's representation of love in at least two sonnets you have studied We know there are two types of sonnets; the Shakespearean sonnet which has three four line quatrains, one two line rhyming couplet and an obvious rhyme scheme. The other type of sonnet is known as the Petrarchan sonnet. This consists of an octet, then a sestet and also a distinct rhyming scheme. I have studied two Shakespearean sonnets and one Petrarchan sonnet to compare how Shakespeare represents love and how this differs to another form of sonnet writing. The sonnets I studied were "Shall I compare thee.." and "Let me not.." written by Shakespeare and also "Sonnet Xiii" written by Edna St. Vincent Millay. All of these sonnets talk about love. "Shall I compare thee.." and "Let me not.." are very similar in their ideas of love. Both talk of how his love can defeat time by lasting far longer than the person who inspired him. "So long as men can breath or eyes can see, So long lives this, and gives life to thee." ...read more.


Compared with the Shakespearean sonnets, the sonnet by Millay talks of how she once loved but now those feelings do not remain. "I only know what summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more" This quote shows that this sonnet talks of quite a different view of love. This quote depicts how she once loved but she no longer has that feeling but in Shakespeare's sonnets he talks of love that will last forever. The effect of Shakespeare's sonnets is that he is happily in love. The way he talks of the women's beauty as if it is the most precious in the whole world makes the sonnet appear to be a rejoicing, happy sonnet. "Sometime to hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dim'd" This depicts how the summer's day will not last but the woman he loves beauty is superior to the summer's day and will last forever. The Petrarchan sonnet is again quite the opposite. This poem is not talking of someone they love or some ones beauty, but rather of how they have once loved but now do not even remember that feeling and no longer feel that way about any of the people they loved. ...read more.


With the Petrarchan sonnet, it follows a different rhyming scheme, still with the fourteen lines but with an octet conveying the mood and then a sestet concluding the mood. In Millay's sonnet she talks of how she does not think of those she once loved and the sonnet seems very sombre, and in the sestet she concludes that the reason for this is because she does not love them any more as their love has come and gone and she has no reason to think about them therefore. "I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more" The language used by Shakespeare is a lot more difficult to understand than the language used by Millay through out the sonnet. Millay's language is a lot more modern for example the use of the word 'lads'. This is very colloquial. Shakespeare does not use language like this, and the way he forms his sentences is much more complex. The representation that Shakespeare has of love in these two poems is of something that is wonderful and will defeat time, whereas Millay's Petrarchan sonnet talks of love that is no longer there and is a quite melancholy poem that differs in context use of language and structure. Louise Davidson ...read more.

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