Critical Appreciation of Shakespeare's To His Love Sonnet 106
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, English dramatist and poet, b.
Stratford-on-Avon. He is considered the greatest playwright who ever
lived. He is also a sonneteer.
His father was John Shakespeare. In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne
Hathaway, eight years his senior and pregnant at the time of the
marriage. They had three children: Susanna, born in 1583, and twins,
Hamnet and Judith, born in 1585.
In 1594 Shakespeare became an actor and playwright for the Lord
Chamberlain's Men, the company that later became the King's Men under
James I. Until the end of his London career Shakespeare remained with
the company; it is thought that as an actor he played old men's roles,
such as the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It. In 1596 he
obtained a coat of arms, and by 1597 he was prosperous enough to buy
New Place in Stratford, which later was the home of his retirement
years. In 1599 he became a partner in the ownership of the Globe
theatre, and in 1608 he was part owner of the Black friars theatre.
Shakespeare retired and returned to Stratford c.1613. He undoubtedly
enjoyed a comfortable living throughout his career and in retirement,
although he was never a wealthy man.
Shakespeare's first published works were two narrative poems, Venus
and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594). Shakespeare's
sonnets are by far his most important non-dramatic poetry. They were
first published in 1609, although many of them had certainly been
circulated privately before this, and it is generally agreed that the
poems were written sometime in the 1590s. Scholars have long debated
the order of the poems and the degree of autobiographical content. The
first 126 of the 154 sonnets are addressed to a young man whose
identity has long intrigued scholars. The publisher, Thomas Thorpe,
wrote a dedication to the first edition in which he claimed that a
person with the initials W. H. had inspired the sonnets. Some have
thought these letters to be the transposed initials of Henry
Wriothesley, 3d earl of Southampton, to whom Shakespeare dedicated
Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece; or they are possibly the
initials of William Herbert, 3d earl of Pembroke, whose connection
with Shakespeare is more tenuous. The identity of the dark lady
addressed in sonnets 127-152 has also been the object of much
conjecture but no proof. The sonnets are marked by the recurring
themes of beauty; youthful beauty ravaged by time, and the ability of
love and art to transcend time and even death.
The word sonnet is derived from the Italian word "sonetto" which means
a little song.
It is a poem of 14 lines divided into two parts. The first eight lines
are called the Octave.
The remaining six lines are called the Sestate. Each sonnet has...