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Sonnets: The Power Of Love Essay

1590 words - 6 pages

Sonnets:  The Power of Love          

The majority of Elizabethan sonnets reflect two major themes: time and love. William Shakespeare, too, followed this convention, producing 154 sonnets, many of which deal with the usual theme of love. Because the concept of love is in itself so immense, Shakespeare found several ways to capture the essence of his passion. Therefore, in his poetry he explored various methods and used them to describe the emotions associated with his love for a mysterious "dark lady." These various ideas and views resulted in a series of sonnets that vibrantly depicts his feelings of true, undying love for his lady. Instead of making the topic less interesting, as some might expect, Shakespeare's myriad approaches serve to further the reader's knowledge about the sheer power of true love. Three of Shakespeare's methods that show his ability in this respect are the motif of dreams and thoughts, the examples of the extent of love, and Shakespeare's desire for his sonnets to aid or glorify their love.

In many of Shakespeare's sonnets, he frequently mentions the continuous presence of a special lady in his dreams and thoughts. For example, in Sonnet 27, Shakespeare writes about the fact that he is never without his love. This is because during the day he worships her at sight, and at night she invades his dreams. He cannot sleep without her coming, unbidden, into his mind: "Lo, thus by day my limbs, by night my mind/ For thee, and for myself, no quiet find." Contrary to this thought, however, his constant musings of his lady are also a blessing to him. In Sonnet 29, Shakespeare, depressed and envious of others, thinks of his love: "Yet, in these thoughts myself almost despising,/ Haply I think on thee, and then my state,/ Like to the lark at break of day arising/ . . . sings hymns at heaven's gate." He changes from utter despondence to joy through just the thought of his lady. In Sonnet 43, Shakespeare writes that his love has great powers, to make the world transform from darkness to light. The days are dark and sad until he saw her, but his nights are always bright from sight of her in his dreams: "All days are nights to see till I see thee,/ All nights bright days when dreams do show thee me." In the sonnet that follows, he extends this idea by saying, "If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,/ Injurious distance should not stop my way." Here, Shakespeare wishes he were thought, for if this were true, he could always be with his lady; thought, unlike himself, can travel great distances to find her and is always welcomed into her mind. This theme is again expressed in Sonnet 47, in which Shakespeare settled the argument over possession of his lady between his eyes and heart: "Thyself, away, are present still with me;/ For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move." Even if his eyes aren't gifted with the sight of her, he can feel her nearness in his thoughts. In Sonnet 52, Shakespeare compares himself to a...

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