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Shakespeare Essay

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Introduction

Shakespeare wrote 125 sonnets in his lifetime, they were written between 1594 and 1597. They were dedicated to a man whom he calls "fair boy" in his sonnets and a woman "my mistress". Shakespeare's sonnets were published in 1609. The sonnets are mostly full of images of a romantic nature about love and lust. Sonnets come in two main forms: - "The Petrarchan" which originated in Italy and "Shakespearean" which is the English form. Most sonnets written by Shakespeare were in the Shakespearean form of three quatrains, each rhymed differently, with an independently rhyming couplet at the end. Each line is made up of ten syllables. In this essay it is necessary to look at sonnets 18 and 130, both written for different people, one for a man and one for a woman, and look and the differences between them. Sonnet 18 follows the Shakespearean form. In this poem he shows his love for a man. This man's identity is not known, but it is rumoured to be the Earl of Southampton, these are rumours so we don't really know if that's true. Shakespeare's first 26 sonnets are clearly written to a man. In one of his sonnets, sonnet 20, he describes his love for a man as non-sexual. ...read more.

Middle

In this sonnet he uses words such as "declines" as he talks about summer and he uses "too short" when he talks about how summer isn't long and dies out quickly but the man's beauty will never die and last forever. Also Shakespeare uses the word "death" itself when describing that even if the man dies his beauty will live on forever. He says that "his gold complexion dimmed" when he says this he is talking about the "eye of heaven" he says that sometimes summer is dull but the man is never dull. In sonnet 18 he also compares the man to summer using eternal imagery. He says that his beauty "shall not fade" and is "eternal" which suggests even when the man is dead he still will be beautiful? Also he finishes the sonnet with a rhyming couplet that reads "So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and gives life to thee." This suggests that the man's beauty is forever and because poem lines are written down forever, this gives him life and makes him eternally beautiful. Sonnet 130 is similar in structure to sonnet 18. ...read more.

Conclusion

The two sonnets are fairly similar because of their structure is the same and based on the Shakespearean form. They are both also love poems and both use a lot of beauty imagery. This helps create images in out minds of what Shakespeare feels for this man and woman whom these poems were written for. They are different though because one is written for a man and one for a woman, and also they way he uses words and imagery is different in each one. In sonnet 18 he uses imagery to impress and say good things about the man, yet in sonnet 130 he uses imagery to say that his "mistress" is not as beautiful compared to nature and really if you think about it, it doesn't seem fair on the subject in 130. Even though sonnet 130 seems harsh to the reader to start with, at the end where he wrote "And yet, by heaven, I think my love is rare, As any she believed with false compare" shows that he cares deeply for her as much as he seems to for the man in sonnet 18. So there actually isn't much difference in the two poems as I first thought because they both are about how much he cares for two certain people even though it doesn't at first seem like that in sonnet 130. ...read more.

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