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Shakespearen Sonnets Essay

1225 words - 5 pages

Shakespearen Sonnets


William Shakespeare is one of the most famous authors of all times. His works span a wide range of formats, styles, and themes. While best known for plays, such as the tragedy "Romeo and Juliet," he was also a composer of poetry. To many people, these poems constitute the greatest of Shakespeare's accomplishments. They were often highly emotional in nature, and dealt with timeless ideas such as beauty, love, and death. Each one of the poems is unique. Yet for all their differences, many of the poems share common themes and ideas about life. This is evident when one examines three of William Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. While distinctly different, "Sonnets 116", "Sonnets 130", and "Sonnets 138" are similar in their style and format, their strong love theme, and their insights as to the true nature of love.
Each of the three sonnets is obviously different. "Sonnet 116" offers the reader a definition about love. It describes what Shakespeare believes to be its true qualities. In the second poem, "Sonnet 130", Shakespeare describes the many imperfections in his mistress. He ends the poem by revealing that he loves her regardless of the flaws. In the final poem, "Sonnet 138", Shakespeare brings to light the faults of two lovers. At the end of the sonnet, Shakespeare describes how their faults are overcome by lies, which are sustained by love.
Although the poems appear to be quite different on the surface, underneath they share many common elements. The most obvious of these is in the style of the poems. Each of the poems is written in the format of a sonnet, which is a 14-line verse written in iambic pentameter. Furthermore, each one examines different aspects of a single idea that gets resolved in the last two lines. For example, in "Sonnet 116", Shakespeare spends the first 12 lines describing what he believes to be the true nature of love. He describes how love is unalterable and unchangeable. In a sense, what he is saying is that love is not love unless it remains unchanged by both time and adversity. The two final lines of the poem serve to solidify this theme in the reader's mind; "If this be error, and upon me prov'd, I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd (Shakespeare 343)." This line is especially effective because they are the words of Shakespeare, who wrote more about love than anything else. Shakespeare is really saying that if he is wrong about love, then he has written nothing at all, which is obviously not true!
The second way in which these sonnets are similar is in the way they all contain a very strong love theme. In "Sonnet 116", this theme is expressed as a definition of love. Shakespeare defines love as something that is unchangeable. By saying that love is "an ever-fixed mark (Shakespeare 342)," he is saying that nothing can alter the course of love. It is, in a sense, beyond the control of even time! In the next sonnet, Shakespeare is again writing about the power of...

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