• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

GCSE: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Browse by
Rating:
4 star+ (1)
3 star+ (2)
Word count:
fewer than 1000 (26)
1000-1999 (23)
2000-2999 (9)
3000+ (1)
Submitted within:
last 12 months (1)

Meet our team of inspirational teachers

find out about the team

Get help from 80+ teachers and hundreds of thousands of student written documents

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. How do sonnets deal with the theme of love?

    A Shakespearean sonnet has fourteen lines, broken down into three quatrains and ending with a rhyming couplet. In each quatrain a different subject is discussed and described, the subject is then changed at the start of each new quatrain. A Shakespearean sonnet has the rhyming pattern ABABCDCDEFEFGG. For example in sonnets "130", the first quatrain shows this rhyming pattern, it is at the beginning so is the ABAB part. "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head."

    • Word count: 621
  2. The Dark Lady in ShakespeareŒs Sonnets.

    My mistress´┐Ż eyes are nothing like the sun, 130.1-6 Coral is far more red, than her lips red, If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun: If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head: I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks, Therefore my mistress´┐Ż brows are raven black, 127.9-10 Her eyes so suited, ... She is not only named Dark Lady because of her dark looks, but also because of her black moral character.4 Shakespeare describes her for example as cruel and tyrannous.

    • Word count: 2989
  3. Compare and contrast Christina Rossetti 'remember' and William Shakespeare's sonnet 71 in detail, considering how the second poem functions as a rewriting of the sonnet form. Pay close attention to matters of form and style as well as content.

    He is telling his lover that when he dies they should morn for him much longer after he is buried. This use of theme for poetry makes me question whether the speaker means he thinks he will die in the near future, or whether this is just a melancholic thought into the unavoidable? Is it Shakespeare's thoughts that are being conveyed in this poem or is this just a fictional piece for general enjoyment? Wordsworth (1827) said in sonnets such as this one 'Shakespeare unlocked his heart' however, in the Elizabethan times sonnets were a type of popular culture thus this idea is unclear.

    • Word count: 1739
  4. Compare the treatment of time in Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias", Shakespeare's Sonnet LXV "Since Brass nor Stone", Shakespeare's Sonnet II "When Forty Winters", Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time".

    It talks about a ruined statue of an ancient ruler of an "ancient" city. This means that time has destroyed his city and his entire empire has been reduced to "lone and level sands" that "stretch far away." Shelley uses alliteration here to speed up this line and it makes you read it faster. This emphasises the rapid flow of time. The regular metre and short lines, speeding up the poem and showing us the endless passage of time, reinforce this. The irony in Shelley's "Ozymandias" is that the face of the statue is smirking at the world, but now it is time smirking at him, as his face on the statue is "half sunk" and "Shattered."

    • Word count: 1335
  5. Sonnets 18, 116 and 130 all express ideas about love, but in different ways. Explain how Shakespeare uses nature and time to convoy his ideas. Which sonnet is most effective in your opinion?

    then why summer is not perfect 'sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines' Sonnet 130 is about a loved one unlike sonnet 18 which is to her. This sonnet is about his mistress or loved one. Nature is used to compare with her, but these are negative comparisons. In the first quatrain he says his mistress is not as colourful as nature 'Coral is more red than her lips' whereas in sonnet 18 he says she's better than nature but here he contradict himself and the sonnet is less romantic than the first.

    • Word count: 784
  6. Shakespearian Love Sonnets.

    The first image of her love tells us that her love has no bounds and is as vast and great as the sea. The second comparison shows that her and Romeo's love for each other is young and undeveloped, but could really blossom if they are patient and wait. After reading the play 'Romeo and Juliet', I realised that many traditional images of love were used by Shakespeare. These traditional images of love were used throughout Elizabethan poetry. In search of more of these traditional images of love or love conventions, I decided to read three Love Sonnets written by William Shakespeare.

    • Word count: 2592
  7. Compare and contrast the different ways that Shakespeare and Shelley's sonnets deal with the themes of transience and immortality.

    I feel that Shelley is trying to express that only nature can remain immortal, nothing else. I feel that he also trying to convey that possessions are not immortality. He uses strong imagery and irony to portray this. The statue, which is described as being "two vast and trunkless legs of stone...a shattered visage lies", which is all that remains. The head is described as have a "wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command" possibly indicating that he was a harsh and tyrannical leader which is being indicated by the sculptor.

    • Word count: 638
  8. Compare and contrast the two sonnets "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" and "Sonnet 130".

    does exactly this, so in a way Shakespeare contradicts himself. The poem "Shall I compare thee..." poses with the question, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?", this opening line gives the impression that the author is going to compare his love to all the beauties of 'summers' day, but instead it follows on to say that she is more lovely and more ''temperate'' than a summery day, as a summery day has so many faults. He goes onto explain how at the start of summer the winds are rough and that they shake ''The darling buds of May'' and he complains about the short, allocated time for summer.

    • Word count: 2617
  9. Comparison of Shall I compare thee? and My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun

    Fine days never stay the same: `rough winds' or the sun obscured by clouds; `and often is his gold complexion dim'd', can easily mar a fine day. He talks about these negative factors of change in the first eight lines, and Shakespeare then uses these ideas to claim that his loved one will always remain untarnished, speaking of how `thy eternal summer shall not fade' and how his loved one has lasting qualities that will outshine death: `Nor shall death brag thou wandr'st in his shade' These thoughts come to a confident, final conclusion that his loved one's beauty will always be remembered through the sonnet he wrote: `So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.'

    • Word count: 984
  10. Discuss the importance of structure and organisation of ideas in two short texts you have studied. Sonnets 18 and 29 - William Shakespeare

    A sonnet normally has 14 lines of iambic pentameters and the rhyme scheme is alternate from lines one to twelve and end in a rhyming couplet. What is most interesting about this structure is the way in which the three quatrains and couplet become part of the way Shakespeare expresses his ideas. The opening quatrain may express an idea or dilemma. In sonnet 18 a simile and a question introduces the subject and the comparison of a summer's day.

    • Word count: 587
  11. In an examination of the following sonnets, 'Shall I Compare Thee' and 'Let Me Not' by William Shakespeare and 'On His Blindness' by John Milton, establish the main style into which each falls and its themes.

    The other form is Shakespearian. It is named after William Shakespeare who extensively used the sonnet form and wrote a one-hundred-and-fifty-four poem cycle. The forms iambic pentameter is split into quatrains. These are three sections consisting of four lines. The sonnet is ended by a rhyming couplet. The rhyme scheme is strictly ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG. The sonnet 'Shall I Compare Thee' is, unsurprisingly, in the Shakespearian form and features the theme of love. It is one of the most famous pieces of verse in English literature and many phrases from the sonnet have passed into the English language.

    • Word count: 1772
  12. How do Barret Browning and Wordsworth use the sonnet form to portray strong feelings and emotions?

    They are also written in iambic pentameter. This makes the structure restricted. The poets would have had to be selective in choosing which feelings and emotions are shown in the poem. So only the important ones come through. The sonnets were written in different time eras. Wordsworth wrote 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' in the Romantic era. At that time, people were naturalistic. This could explain why his poem has so much nature in it. So much, that there seems to be an absence of humanity.

    • Word count: 494
  13. The Mysteries of the Sonnets Vargo

    Lines 9-14 of this sonnet tell the reader that the mistress has dark features and there is a hint that perhaps she wore makeup. Also, in Sonnet 130, another good physical description of the dark lady is given. "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;" Coral is far more red then her lips' red;/ If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head./ I have seen roses damask's red and white,/ But no such roses see I in her cheeks;..."(Hubler 104)

    • Word count: 1436
  14. I have chosen to look at Shakespeares sonnets Nos. 18 and 130.

    EACH LINE is HAS 10 syllables. EACH line and divided into 5 'feet' EACH ONE OF TWO SYLLABLES. Each foot is known as an 'iamb'. I have chosen to look at Shakespeare's sonnets Nos. 18 and 130. In the first quatrain in sonnet 18 Shakespeare compares his love to a summer's day. He is saying that the one he loves is "more lovely and more temperate...". Shakespeare goes on to say that beauty sometimes declines due to chance or "nature's course untrimmed" and that beautiful things do lose beauty.

    • Word count: 586
  15. Compare and Contrast William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18" to "In an Artist's Studio" by Christina Rossetti

    This is illustrated by Dante Gabrielle's paintings of the 'nameless girl in freshest summer - greens'. By Contrast, Shakespeare's sonnet is addressed to an anonymous person with whom he is infatuated. He begins by posing the rhetorical question of whether or not he should compare his subject to 'A summer's day'. He dismisses his question in the second line and argues 'thou art more lovely and more temperate'. Although the diction used in the poem is ornate due to the tradition of courtly love of his time, his simple and direct analogy enables us to comprehend the nature oh his affection more easily.

    • Word count: 1175
  16. The Power of Love: Truth, Nature or Society? "Sonnet 67" by Edmund Spencer and "Sonnet 130" by William Shakespeare

    Contrary to popular belief Society and Nature merge together to form a truth of the woman's power. In these poems the power of women is not an absolute truth, for if it were to be an absolute truth the man would have to directly acknowledge the fact that the women are in control. Instead the authors of the poems indirectly hint to the fact that the woman has the power. These poems also convey the image that the beauty of women is not external, but it is based on their power to get to a man's heart that makes them beautiful.

    • Word count: 1084
  17. From the sonnets you have studied compare and comment upon three poems, explain why you think they are successful show which you prefered and why.

    Once this is repeated five times in each line it is known as an iambic pentameter. The most famous form of sonnet is the Shakespearean sonnet and is known as this because it is the pattern that Shakespeare used for many of his sonnets. The sonnets that I have chosen are all Shakespearean and written by Shakespeare. I am going to compare three sonnets that are all by Shakespeare, which are 'Shall I compare thee...?', 'Let me not' and 'Act I Scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet'. I have selected these poems because I believe that they will make an interesting comparison, as they are all love sonnets with different purposes.

    • Word count: 2061
  18. Shakespeare Essay

    In one of his sonnets, sonnet 20, he describes his love for a man as non-sexual. But he clearly admires him very much. I think this because he doesn't say "I love you" or anything that suggests that he loves him but phrases such as "nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall death brag thou wand' rest in his shade" shows that he admires the man. In sonnet 18 he compares the man with nature, "summers day" this suggests he might think that the man is very good-looking and so he's comparing him to something beautiful.

    • Word count: 1315
  19. Ozymandias

    As the tale is introduced 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert...' Shelley uses a caesura or break in the sonnet to distinguish the story from what he wants us to believe is the reality of the 'traveler's' story. The setting has changed. Rameses II ruled Egypt in the 13th century, the way Shelley describes the statue's shattered reputation 'a shattered visage lies' but how at the same time reveals the legacy, 'Which yet survive...' illustrates the impact that 'Ozymandias' had on the country.

    • Word count: 571
  20. Compare William Shakespeare’s sonnets 12 and 73, look closely at the language use to convey the writer’s realisation of death

    This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long. Compare William Shakespeare's sonnets 12 and 73, look closely at the language use to convey the writer's realisation of death William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote a group of 154 sonnets between 1592 and 1597, which were compiled and published under the title 'Shakespeare's Sonnets' in 1609. The 154 poems are divided into two groups, a larger set, consisting of sonnets 1-126 which are addressed by the poet to a dear young man, the smaller group of sonnets 127-154 address another persona, a 'dark lady'.

    • Word count: 2373
  21. Wirte a Comparative Essay On ‘the Portuguese Sonnet’ By Elizabeh Barret Browning, ‘Sonnet 130’ By William Shakespeare and the ‘Glasgow Sonnet’ By Edwin Morgan

    Most poets wouldn't say this about their love, or even describe somebody in a poem like this, but Shakespeare did. As this is how he saw his love, with all of her physical flaws, but he still loved her. Another example of this is 'in some perfume there is more delight then in the breath that from my mistress reeks'. This quotation means her breath isn't as sweet as perfume, but it reeks. This isn't something you would say to a lover, he was using it as a statement, that love isn't always with the most attractive person, but it is real.

    • Word count: 815
  22. What do we learn about life and death from the sonnets of the Elizabethen age ?

    day we will also die away helplessly and ber gone forever.To emphasise the poems meaning he uses a powerful juxtaposition and the end . ''We are soon born to die,soon florishing to fade'' This means as soon as you are born ,your countdown before your death begins. The next sonnet is written by Amonetti in the same year as Barnabe,1595.It is called 'One day i wrote her nane upon the strand'.This sonnet also shows the transience of life.Unlike the previous sonnet however,this one is like a little story in miniature and creates a powerful visual image.It also offers a solution to overcome death.The first quatrain describes the scene.

    • Word count: 1230
  23. Compare the content, style, and language of two pre-twentieth century sonnets

    Therefore, the poem is fiction not fact. Charlotte Smith tells how she enjoys the calmness of her own thoughts and imagination 'Alone and pensive, I delight to stray'. In the line 'And watch thy shadows trembling in the stream', we have to decide whether she is actually describing the reflection of the moon in a stream or the fact that she enjoys reflecting in her own thoughts and the shadows of her mind. The whole poem has a very calm and pensive feeling.

    • Word count: 1175
  24. Examine the theme of love and sonnet form in any two Shakespearean and at least one petrachan sonnet

    Both Shakespearean sonnets also have the standard three quatrains with a rhyming couplet at the end. Sonnet XI ii again differentiates here as it again follows the Petrarchan form by using an octet followed by a sestet. All three of the sonnets however do have a use of iambic pentameter. Lets take the last line of each for example: 'So long as men can breath or eyes can see' 'If this can be error and upon me prov'd' 'A little while that sings in me no more' As you can see there is a strong use of iambic pentameter and onomatopoeia in all three sonnets.

    • Word count: 1076
  25. Compare William Shakespeare's sonnets 12 and 73

    This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long. Compare William Shakespeare's sonnets 12 and 73, look closely at the language use to convey the writer's realisation of death William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote a group of 154 sonnets between 1592 and 1597, which were compiled and published under the title 'Shakespeare's Sonnets' in 1609. The 154 poems are divided into two groups, a larger set, consisting of sonnets 1-126 which are addressed by the poet to a dear young man, the smaller group of sonnets 127-154 address another persona, a 'dark lady'.

    • Word count: 2351

Marked by a teacher

This document has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the document.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the document page.

Peer reviewed

This document has been reviewed by one of our specialist student document reviewing squad. Read the full review under the document preview on this page.