Shakespeare - still relevant today
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What relevance do these sonnets have for Australians reading them today four centuries after they were written? Even though Shakespeare's sonnets were written over four-hundred years ago, they are still relevant today because all of the ideas and issues that Shakespeare addresses in his sonnets are still relevant to people today. Shakespeare had a very good understanding of the many subtle characteristics human nature and emotions. His sonnets have stood the test of time and have remained popular because the issues they raise and the ideas they state, are about humans and human nature, which are both unchanging over time. Some of the ideas that the sonnets convey include the fear of death, the love for others and our understanding of time and mutability.
Shakespeare is saying that love is like a star to a wandering bark that is fixed in the sky. It can be relied upon for guidance, It lasts forever, and it is not effected by earthly problems such as storms ("That looks on tempests and is never shaken"). The message is that true love is unchanging and everlasting, and many people can relate to this message today. Shakespeare uses repetition and allusions to the Episcopal book to describe to the reader the nature of love. In the first two lines of Sonnet 116 Shakespeare asks the reader to "Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments".
Death "seals up all in rest". Shakespeare uses rhetorical question to make the reader aware of the similarities between the beauty of a summer's day and the person of his affection. This is evident in the opening line of sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Shakespeare uses this technique to develop his conceit throughout the sonnet. For contemporary audiences love, beauty and death are concepts that people have to face and live with today. Shakespeare's sonnets help us understand these concepts. People can still relate to the beauty of a summers day, and the darkness and emptiness of death. Death is still feared, and love and beauty are still desired. This is why the sonnets are still relevant today.
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Shakespeare's Sonnets section.
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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
This is a very vague essay that never really looks at Shakespeare's use of language, structure and form in any real depth. If the title had chosen one or two sonnets to look at and then focused analysis around those while at the same time considering a modern day relevance, a better response could have been constructed.
Marked by teacher Laura Gater 08/05/2013
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