Woman’s Portrayal In Sonnet LXXXI By Edmund Spenser
The profound perception in “Sonnet LXXXI” by Edmund Spenser discusses a woman’s physical appearance in a conventional manner as it is characterized by the society. However, the context of the text highlights the unique qualities of the woman, praising both the natural aspects of her beauty and her knowledge. The civilization is mainly run and developed by males, as women were thought to be vulnerable and in constant need of care. The response of the speaker oversees the ordinary depiction of a woman and evaluates her insight and individual state in society. Although the text directly focuses on women, the implications of the writing apply to all individuals within a society. Spenser’s “Sonnet LXXXI” critiques the physical and biological differences that exist between men and women, while externally detracting from the reduction of women to their physical self and highlighting equality for both sexes in the society. It explores the idea that women are not entirely what society portrays them to be, resulting in a reformed perspective of women within the social structure as they are expressed to be equally capable and valuable as men.
The speaker in this sonnet evidently appreciates a woman’s beauty. However, her intelligence is accentuated: “The gate with pearls and rubies richly dight;/Through which her words so wise do make their way”. These lines metaphorically represent her mouth and wise words, which presents her as more appealing and significant. The element of intelligence enhances the true beauty of a person, enhancing the fact that one’s physical appearance does not define one’s beauty, but it is rather their knowledge. Spenser implements this concept, which deviates from society’s regulations. The constant application of the word “Fair” is ambiguous as it may analyse all people within the society regardless of their status and sex. The passion depicted “in her eyes the fire” accommodates to prove an individual’s learning and capability of seeking opportunities. Women and citizens of a lower social status were unable to attain an education and afraid to voice opinions due to societal norms. The implication of the lines, “Fair, when that cloud of pride, which oft doth dark/Her goodly light” suggest aristocrats to be proud of the woman in this sonnet. This trait is mainly associated with men and their masculinity. However, the text refers to not only women, but all individuals within the social system, stressing the notion that everyone is significant and worthy for being distinctive individuals. Furthermore, this illustrates equal view among classes and gender within the society, which is the objective of this text as lower class citizens and women were viewed to be of lesser importance. The woman’s “gentle spright” is employed to indicate the symbolic representation of the great spirit of intellectuality and the power of voicing opinions, a notable action in a society that rejects individualism. The unique quality gives the people a “chance to mark” among others as the speaker embraces individuality.
In a community where men of higher order are the prominent source of stabilization in the economy, Spenser re-examines the aspect of social stability while critiquing the notion that each individual is equally able to maintain a stable position in the economy. This can be shown in the line, “precious merchandise she forth doth lay”. The context of the text provide insight on the qualities of a woman that go beyond her physical traits and appreciates her intellectual ability and opportunities to contribute within the fundamental principles of social expansion, as previously women were reduced to being justified by their bodies. The portrayal of the woman’s “fair golden hairs,/With the loose wind” is a way to symbolize her individualism. Her untied hair denotes being unmarried, depicting her independence and presenting her as a strong individual within society who can participate within the economy. Those with the lower class role were limited to the expenses and economy, especially women who were considered to be the weaker sex, physically and emotionally. However, Spencer analyses the equality of the human race, despite their biological and class order differences. The repetition of the word “Fair” highlights its significance to describe the woman’s physicality as her fair skin implies her prosperity. Being a prosperous individual implies that the woman has not been exposed to the sun very often as she may have never had to work outside. This portrays previous lives of women in the society where women were to focus on marriage and their occupation as a homemaker. Although the speaker adores the woman’s outer appearance, the astonishing element of her intelligence is truly what makes her more admirable.
The speaker being male underlines significant aspects of the sonnet. Although there are biological differences, the speaker is embracing the woman’s physical and intellectual beauty as presenting her to be fairly expressible and unique, equivalent to a man within the economical society. Spenser emphasizes the description of a woman in a respectful and admirable way by focusing on women’s contribution to society. The words “wonderment” and “heart’s astonishment” have been used to signify that people are not credited for being beautiful as beauty occurs naturally. The intelligence that each individual possesses is what truly makes them unique. The physical strength and endurance value of men were directly translated into social and political power, maintaining stability in society. Women were neglected from contributing in the social classes due to their lack of knowledge as their main purpose was reproduction. The sonnet critique the emerging of the new perception of gender role as well as acknowledging individualism, where the view towards women are not influenced by nature’s perspective.
In this sonnet, Spenser explores the idea of individualism and the equality of the sexes. He also critiques the fundamental structure of the society as it is contrasted to be regulated solely by upper class men. Many citizens were denied opportunities to fulfill their potential. The sonnet emphasizes the beauty of intelligence within each individual who has the capability of contributing strength to the collective culture. The context of the text primarily focuses on women’s status on society as it analyses the ability beyond their identity induced by the society. The text implies a portrayal of the wise and prominent aspects of women as these qualities is what truly signifies being a woman. “Sonnet LXXXI” by Spenser evaluates the notion of promoting equality within each individual as enhancing a person’s intellectual ability can result in viewing a person’s characteristic in a different perspective. Although there are natural differences between sexes, the text signifies the magnificence of women as they speak and present themselves rather than their physical appearance.
Historical and Cultural Context of Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare is likely the most well-known literary figure in Western history, and thus an analysis of his works can deeply connect us to our cultural history. The beauty about studying Shakespeare is that any one of his works, such as “Sonnet 116” which we will be observing in this paper, opens our eyes to the lineages and trends of culture that have inspired countless other works of humanities for the past several hundred years. Indeed, the inspiration for “Sonnet 116” and Shakespeare’s other sonnets came from the English context of being influenced by the preceding Italian Renaissance. Further, Shakespeare’s signature style of his sonnets was inspired by courtly customs in the Elizabethan era of English history. As we will explore, a study of “Sonnet 116” brings us to consider the historical and cultural context of Shakespeare’s works, and to appreciate Shakespeare’s enduring value to the humanities in inspiring us to tap into eloquent literary forms of expression to celebrate or explore the most important dimensions of human experience.
Shakespeare’s sonnets are believed to have been mostly all written and released in the early 17th century, which thus places his work within the historical influence of the Italian Renaissance and Elizabethan Era of English literary history. Shakespeare’s sonnets are best contextualized within the trend of courtly love poems written in the 16th century around the cult of Anne Boleyn. “Sonnet 116,” like several of Shakespeare’s other sonnets, expresses deep passionate feelings of love and a celebration for the mysterious essence of love. Shakespeare’s work fits into the tradition of the Devonshire Manuscript, which is full of courtly love poems from Henry VIII’s court and Boleyn’s circle. Sir Thomas Wyatt deserves mention here as a primary source of influence for this era of the sonnet in English history, because many of the poems in the Devonshire Manuscript are attributed to him. As we will next see, the Elizabethan sonnets of the 16th century were characterized by the thematic styles of the Italian Renaissance, but Shakespeare, in the 17th century, adapted the style to make his own characteristic style known as Shakespearean sonnets.
Shakespeare’s poetic predecessors relied upon the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch’s style of sonnet, but Shakespeare would modify this form in ways recognizable in “Sonnet 116.” Petrarch’s style of sonnet divided the poem into two sections — the first with eight lines, known as an “octave,” and the second and last with six lines, known as a “sestet”. As we see with “Sonnet 116,” Shakespeare’s characteristic style did away with Petrarch’s two-part structure, opting instead for 14 lines in one single verse. Petrarch’s style is to use two different voices or tones for each of his sonnets’ parts, thus creating a dialogue of different perspectives. Shakespeare’s style by contrast allows for further rumination and subtle lines of thought from the speaker while maintaining the same perspective, which creates more of a nuanced and varied feeling of inner dialogue. For instance, in “Sonnet 116,” we see that the speaker accomplishes a greater depth of exploration regarding love than would have been possible in just eight lines. The first eight lines establish the idea that true love is timeless, and then lines nine through twelve reinforce this theme with further effective imagery such as “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,/But bears it out even to the edge of doom”. Finally, Shakespeare’s typical couplet ending allows for a concluding statement which often reviews the point spoken through the sonnet and adds light back onto the speaker.
Many academics agree that Shakespeare has been one of the most important Western historical figures to the modern humanities education because of the accessibility of his work in allowing modern students to expand their literary frontiers and understand the history and culture that has led to the present. Ann Forrester (1995) says, “Shakespeare has brought alive Western society’s shared history and culture in a way no other playwright has ever done”. Forrester (1995) refers here to the way that Shakespeare’s works — including his sonnets — allow us to have a sense of what cultural themes and styles of being were present in his time of the 17th century. The above analysis regarding the Italian Renaissance and Elizabethan era’s inspiration for Shakespeare’s sonnets are proof of this — we can understand our not so-distant past by exploring Shakespeare’s form.
Further, Shakespeare is relevant for the humanities because his works contain an impressive degree of literary talent as seen in excellent usage of voice, tone, perspective, and other tools that can empower one’s expression. Forrester (1995) writes about how she witnesses her students “come to life” as they read Shakespeare’s works, as they are clearly inspired by entering into his voice and style of expression. Entering into a practice with Shakespeare is necessarily contagious, argues Forrester (1995), because one connects with a rich world of literary expression that adds valuable dimensions to human experience. For instance, in Sonnet 116, Shakespeare makes a passionate statement about love, which, from a humanities position, is certainly a valuable aspect of human experience which warrants complex and creative expression. In short, Shakespeare is valuable to the humanities because he can inspire people to tap their original process of thought and expression and thereby to make meaningful and moving statements about their experience.
The above analysis of “Sonnet 116’s” placement in history, the thematic inspiration and style of this work, and Shakespeare’s greater importance to the humanities shows that any one of Shakespeare’s works can bring us into a much greater appreciation for our cultural history and potential for creative expression. Indeed, “Sonnet 116” takes its place not as an isolated work from the mind of a genius who is unconnected from history and cultural context, but rather it is a product of a longer lineage of creative development in Western history that connects us to the Italian Renaissance and the Elizabethan literary era of English history. Shakespeare’s sonnets express appreciation and exploration of love, which is a very important facet of human experience. Shakespeare today still remains relevant to the humanities because of the potential of his work to connect us back with the history of Western culture that led us to this point, and in inspiring us to live the best lives we can in grappling with the essential themes and questions of life, such as love.
Literary Analysis of Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet Amoretti
Spenser’s “Amoretti” is a sonnet cycle dedicated to his wife, Elizabeth Boyle. Among this group of sonnets, a seemingly odd one is discovered: Sonnet 68. This one, instead of being a love poem written exclusively for his beloved, it is a diversion from the typical sonnet. It shifts its attention towards celestial love rather than mortal love. This brings an unusual focal point since it splits from the sequence of the poems yet it accomplishes to consistently incorporate the general aspects of the Petrarchan sonnet. Mainly through the use of structure and progression, this author relies not only on rules but contrasts to reflect the common theme of love by using religious aspects in his piece.
To begin with, the sonnet organizes its ideas in the three quatrains-plus-couplet form. This structure serves to give it more than one turning point, marking a difference from the Petrarchan sonnet which traditionally only holds one volta. The first turning point is found in line five: “This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin, / And grant that we, for whom thou diddest die”. It is considered a turning point because the first four lines of the poem describe Jesus’ achievements and celebration of his triumph over sin and death, but then it turns this festivity into an exhortation for the reader to be joyful about it. The second turning point arises in line nine: “And that thy love we weighing worthily, / May likewise love thee for the same again”. In this third quatrain, the speaker introduces the idea of giving each other love, just as Christ did for us when he gifted his life for all humankind. Lastly, lines thirteen and fourteen (the couplet), act as the resolution of the poem, here the speaker conclusively addresses his lover by encouraging her to love him. When he says, “So let us love, dear love, like as we ought, / Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught,” it shows that he finds an application of what he had described about love in the previous lines; they should love each other because it is God’s command and he loved us first. Consequently, the use of this structure also affects the progression of the main idea. In a conventional sonnet, it is common for the content to involve either a question and then an answer, or a problem and then a solution. In this particular sonnet, there is no actual problem the speaker struggles with.
As a matter of fact, his emotions and tone only reflect happiness, joy, celebration, excitement, and rejoice in Christ’s love. However, he does approach this issue differently. On the second quatrain, the movement of the idea advances as a question, or better said, as a supplication. In lines seven and eight, it says: “Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin, / May live forever in felicity.” This is the moment where the speaker asks God to enable him to live happily ever after. Furthermore, this petition also shows the generous and unselfish character of the speaker, who not only asks for his own sake but for everyone else’s. He wishes to share his happiness with the rest of the world and he shows this as the poem comes closer to the end. As a result, both the form and the movement of the sonnet work together to have an impact on the theme. Like the traditional sonnet, it adheres to the theme of love, but in contrast, it refers more to the love of God than to the love among people. This is how we see the structure addition of having two voltas affects its progression since these turning points acts as division of the speaker’s attention towards God and then his lover but still in the fields of love.
At last, this piece was written during Easter day, a day that for many is one of remembrance of the hope we have in Christ, that there is salvation in the midst of darkness, which explains his ecstatic tone and the reason behind why he chose to focus on the heavenly and divine love of the Lord keeping the human love under level. Even though Spenser followed the rules of the sonnet, he did not fear the uncommon, he used the Easter story as a pretext for the audience to learn how to love one another. He used this as a justification for his love towards his wife, and vice versa. These well-crafted actions filled with rare content is what makes this sonnet interesting and elevates its value because it brings diversity to the realm of poetry.
Literary Analysis Of William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30”
Many, both professional and amateur, critics analyze William Shakespeare’s sonnets with a fine tooth comb. From the manipulation of iambic pentameter and rhyme scheme, to the combination of mismatched words, Shakespeare’s sonnets are interpreted in various different ways. “Sonnet 30”, is a popular one among critics, for most believe it to be a great metaphor, one between love and financial struggles. However, though there is evidence for such an idea, the true meaning of the poem is inherently clear. The narrator in this poem is not comparing monetary misfortunes to his love, but rather discussing his sorrow and affection towards his two lovers. The poetry seamlessly grants us the inside of the narrator’s mind. Shakespeare uses his classic sonnet format to emphasize this, as he shows despair and regret of adultery toward his first lover in the quatrains, but shifts to a lovely non-remorseful tone directing towards the mistress in the couplet. Disregarding the format, the language of the poem is indicative that this is addressing two lovers. The emotional narrator takes on double perspectives as he is empathetic towards both people. Though thought of by many as a uniquely subtle financial metaphor for love, William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30” is a tribute to the narrator’s mistress.
The format of “Sonnet 30” allows Shakespeare’s true meaning come into the light. Shakespeare had a particular way of organizing his sonnets, as they all had three quatrains and a couplet, where the shift in tone would occur. The sonnets were also all written to be precisely ten syllables per line, as to meet the requirements of iambic pentameter. In this specific sonnet, Shakespeare uses the format to his advantage. Throughout the majority of the poem, lines 1-12, the narrator describes feelings during his “sweet silent thought”, where he collects all of his shameful emotions towards his original lover. In these twelve lines, the narrator confesses that he “moans the expense of many a vanished sight”, meaning he weeps at the death of their relationship due to his cheating. He goes on to list his pities, only to mention he found a mistress or a “precious friend hid in death’s dateless night”. The sonnet carries on in this manner until the couplet, or last two lines. In these lines, Shakespeare would often shift the sonnet into a different gear, both summing up his poetry and leaving it open. Here, Shakespeare ends with the lines “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,/ All losses are restor’d and sorrows end”. This ending is undoubtedly directed towards the narrator’s mistress. The change of tone at this moment is overwhelmingly expected by Shakespeare and his readers. The shift from a sorrowful and empathic voice to a gentle and optimistic viewpoint indicates the change of persons. This shift is transparent to the reader, as it is obvious the narrator is addressing another person of interest, the mistress. Shakespeare engages into the format in an ironic and intelligent fashion, one that drives the narrator’s emotions into the readers.
Beyond the format of Shakespeare’s work, is the physical literature. Shakespeare is known for his quirky combination of words and phrases that present a depthy image. The narrator’s feelings are emphasized and drawn out in the first twelve lines, with words such as “moan”, “grieve”, and “woe”. Beautifully crafted but haunting images of this man crying is also showcased throughout the first twelve lines with phrases such as “then can I drown an eye, unused to flow”. While depicting this image and invoking these feelings, Shakespeare also is able to craft a story. Many critics become distraught and form connections to the integration of otherwise formal words, such as “cancelled” and “paid”. While these words provide evidence to an interesting theory, the literary work in the sonnet speaks for itself. Each line can be interpreted to fit with the idea that the narrator cheated on his significant other but has fallen in love with that adulteress. Particularly, lines 2-4, 6-9, and 12 address the broken, but once very real relationship, between the narrator and his committed significant other. In these lines he struggles with the idea that they were once in love, but due to his actions he has now caused it to end. The narrator is obviously distressed about the conclusion of his relationship, but does recognize that it was an unhealthy one. The last two lines address solely his mistress. As he thinks upon all of the trouble and homewrecking he has caused, going back to thinking about just her lifts his spirits. Shakespeare’s crafting of the narrator’s emotions is so much more complex than a poem about financial and marital distress, it is a overly empathetic man who both feels pain and love for the women in his lives.
Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30” is a magnificent manipulation of format and word choice. Throughout this sonnet, Shakespeare creates a riveting plot line all while delivering blistering pain filled emotion and clarity for the reader. The narrator of this sonnet addresses his two lovers: his original and dysfunctional significant other to whom he loved but cheated on and his mistress. To label the sonnet as simply a financial and credited metaphor would be ludacris and daresay insulting to Shakespeare’s work, as even the simplest of reader can see their so much more weaved throughout this poem. Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 30” is a misunderstood statement about the narrator and his two unrequited lovers.
Love Against Lust In Shakespeare’s 130th Sonnet
Numerous men in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries developed a sonnet that praises women they loved, most of whom embellished their physical qualities. On the other hand, Shakespeare did exactly the opposite, in his 130th sonnet, he states that his mistress deficiencies most of the qualities other men mistakenly admire their women for acquiring, rosy cheeks, lips as red as coral and so on. Shakespeare uses criticism to explain how rare his love is towards her and he displays subtle aloofness for relationships belied by false comparison. He tells the reader that true love is not persistent about the imperfections but feels devotion regardless of the flaws; he sends this message through his artwork.
Like most of Shakespeare’s work, his 130th sonnet has significance on copious stages. First, he pontificates on love as opposed to lust. Any man with those desires will focus on the pleasing characteristics like rosy cheeks, red lips and fragrant breath, however, Shakespeare does not utilize a method that praises his mistress. In fact, Shakespeare criticizes his mistress, writing that she does not possess any of the qualities men admire their women for, he states that she does not have rosy cheeks, her lips not nearly as red as coral and her breath inferiorly pleasant than perfumes. Because of his recognition of her bodily shortcomings, he uses true love to contrast desire. Shakespeare also subtly castigates the common practice of overstressing feminine beauty in sonnets.
To dispatch his many meanings, Shakespeare utilizes various different literary devices. Shakespeare consumes rhyme schemes and rhymes to style the sonnet in a more aesthetically pleasing way. The steadiness of rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG and rhythm highlights Shakespeare’s untiring feelings toward his lover. The 14-line sonnet consists of three quatrains and an end couplet, which underscores on certain words and helps the reader gain a deeper understanding of the theme since the emphasized words relate to the theme; appearance does not affect love.
Shakespeare uses conceit to describe what his mistress is not. In the first line of the first quatrain, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”, he applies a simile and a metaphor in the second line “If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.” These figures of speech are used to accentuate on how his mistress is not like the cliché sonnets about the expected beauty aspects that women should possess. Essentially, every line in the sonnet describes his woman through comparisons, excluding the couplet. The use of conceit enables the reader to vividly imagine what his mistress does not look like. Shakespeare also utilizes literary devices to assist the readers’ conception.
Retrospectively, Shakespeare’s 130th sonnet is most noteworthy because it demonstrates a model of how true love should be. While the sonneteer seems to condemn his mistress for her inadequacy, but it actually articulates the concept that true love distinguishes flaws and admires in spite of them. In its 14 lines, this poem conveys three diverse implications at unique depths. Most perceptibly, the sonnet commentates on love against lust. All readers in Shakespeare’s time would comprehend his observation on the deadly sin. Digging deeper, the sonnet is a literary critique of other sonnets’ embellishment of the woman’s qualities. This sonnet is outstanding because of Shakespeare’s veiled allusions and reliability with sonnet style despite eccentric ideas. While sonnets were stylish in Shakespeare’s time, this writer’s bravura took his sonnet far beyond the trend.
Shakespeare’s Love In Sonnet 18
William Shakespeare is known for his beloved plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, but he actually wrote more poems than plays. “Sonnet 18” is one of the most quoted poems in history and most remembered. William Shakespeare uses rhyme, personification, metaphor, and tone in “Sonnet 18” to describe his everlasting love for his wife. One of “Sonnet 18’s” most prominent literary devices is rhyme. An example of rhyme scheme in “Sonnet 18” is at the beginning of the poem lines 1-4 where it says,
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:…
This is an example of an abab rhyme scheme format where day and May and “a” and temperate and date are “b.” This type of writing adds to that theme of the writer’s love for his wife. By the connection of these lines it shows his love that she is a beautiful as a summer’s day. Another example of rhyme scheme is in lines 5-8 where it says, Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, and often is his gold complexion dimm’d; and every fair from fair sometime declines, by chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;… This is displaying a cdcd rhyme scheme format where shines and declines is “c” and dimm’d and untrimm’d is “d” This type of writing shows how the light of summer and of beauty will decline one day. Also in “Sonnet 18” another type of rhyme is a couplet. An example of that in “Sonnet 18” in lines 13-14 where it says, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / so long lives this and this gives life to thee.” In the couplet “see” and “thee” are rhyming and gives new meaning to these two lines. These last two lines of the poem give another meaning to the whole poem. They show how as long as people can read this poem Shakespeare hopes that the poem can keep his beloved wife’s memory alive. The couplet in lines 13-14 is also an example of the literary devices personification.
Personification is used subliminally throughout “Sonnet 18” The last two lines of the poem are a big example of personification, it says, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / so long lives this and this gives life to thee.”
Shakespeare is saying that as long as people can read this poem, he hopes that it will keep her memory alive. This is giving human characteristics to the whole entire poem because he wants the poem to keep his wife’s memory alive. The next example of personification in this poem is in line 3 where it says “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,…” This line explains how the wind is shaking the beautiful flowers of May.
This is showing personification where it states that the winds are shaking the beautiful flowers of May. The final example of personification in “Sonnet 18” is in line 11 where it states “Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,…” In this line Shakespeare is explaining how “Death” will not take her away from him. He doesn’t want her to die and is acting like “Death” is a person and is giving “Death” human charactics. There is not a lot of personification in “Sonnet 18”, but there not a lot of metaphor.
Metaphor is used sparingly in “Sonnet 18” The first example of metaphor in “Sonnet 18” is the very first line where it says, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare is asking if he should compare his beloved wife to a summer’s day. He is comparing his beloved wife to a summer’s day because of her beauty and a summer day’s beauty. The final example of a metaphor in this poem is in line 9 where it says, “But thy eternal summer shall not fade…” Once again he is comparing his beloved wife to summer. He does not want summer to fade away and in the same sense he does not want his wife to die.
Shakespeare’s love for his wife is illustrated through his carefully crafted metaphors. Tone is arguably the most important literary device in “Sonnet 18” A good example of tone in “Sonnet 18” is in line 1 where it says, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare is asking if he should compare his beloved wife to a summer’s day. This is showing the overall tone of the poem which is love. Also in line 2 Shakespeare is expressing the overall tone of the poem which again is love for his beloved wife, it says, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate:” He is saying that his beloved wife is more lovely and constant. He is showing this overall tone of love because he is saying how great and beautiful she is. The last example is in lines 13-14 where it states, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / So long lives this and this gives life to thee.” Shakespeare is saying that as long as people can live and read this poem that he hopes this poem will let his beloved wife’s memory live on. These two lines sum up his love for his beloved wife and tie into this overall tone of love. This love tone ties into the rest of the literary devices which were previously stated.
These literary devices of rhyme, personification, metaphor, and tone all tie into each other and help Shakespeare get his love across to his wife. “Many have tried to turn the sonnets into a kind of autobiography of Shakespeare…but few if any direct conclusions about the facts of Shakespeare’s life can be drawn from the poems”. However “Sonnet 18” is one of Shakespeare’s few poems that can give the reader a glimpse into Shakespeare’s life.
Shakespearean Astronomy: Analysis of Sonnet 14
Fertility may be the foundation of a society. As the natural production of offspring, the idea of fertility drives a nation. It, quite literally, creates the next generation, and in doing so offers the reality of innovations and the continuation of a culture. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 14 explores this very idea of the necessity of procreation. In true Elizabethan fashion, Shakespeare writes Sonnet 14 in the traditional rhyme scheme of an English sonnet. As per usual with his earlier sonnets, he implicitly addresses a young man, offering a commentary on the role of the heavens in the young man’s life concerning his bearing future generations.
It is first important to understand that at the height of Shakespearean literature, the word “astronomy” was negligibly dissimilar to the use of the word “astrology,” and so the two words were used interchangeably. The significance of this wordplay presents itself in the denotation of the two words. While astronomy is a rather scientific study of the heavens, astrology can be defined as a more “divine” reading of the stars- less factual, and instead more spiritual. This note winds itself into the sonnet by creating a double meaning where the word “astronomy” is said.
Although the speaker in Sonnet 14 acknowledges his understanding of “astronomy,” he rejects his scientific knowledge in the face of judgment. The narrator begins by clarifying that he does not use the heavens as a basis for his decisions, even though is knowledgeable enough to do so. This reassures the reader that though the speaker is intelligent in this realm, he acknowledges his potential bias and refrains from subduing himself to it, offering a perspective of realism to the sonnet.
However, because of the implied astrological meaning, the narrator, in that statement, also denounces his transcendent abilities. He realizes his inability to predict bad omens that the future hold. By stating that foreseeing “good” and “evil luck” is beyond him humbles the narrator, allowing the reader to more fully appreciate his later warning.
In a similar fashion, the personal troubles, or “thunder, rain and wind,” of the individual is not something the narrator can describe with certainty, nor with accuracy. Additionally, he cannot foretell the prominence of a kingdom. His own analysis of what he may find in the sky is unreliable at most to tell the fate of an entire kingdom. In this second quadrant, the speaker does not claim that the heavens do not dictate the lives of anyone from the commoners to royalty, but also denies that one may find answers to life’s questions from studying the stars. By explicitly describing the extent to which the stars cannot determine his judgments, the speaker emphasizes the significance and weight of his later detailed ability to foresee the future in the eyes of the young boy.
Despite all this, there is one thing the narrator claims with absolute certainty, and this decision he makes not with science, but from the eyes of the young man to which he addresses the sonnet. In the eyes of the boy, he sees the stars: a fortune of the future. These are “constant stars” that leave the narrator without a doubt when reading them. Though unable to predict events of nature or personal experience from the real stars of reality, the narrator knows from the figurative stars in the boys’ eyes that if he does not pass on the gift of life and bear children, then the boy’s artistic values of truth and beauty will terminate along with him. In essence, truth and beauty are principles that “thrive” through the act of fertility. The death of the worthwhile values occurs in the sense that when kept to one’s self, truth and beauty are stored, as the narrator says, and therefore remain unused and undeveloped, and dissipate with the life force that carries them.
One must also note that the bad omens the speaker describes are a series of natural events: “plagues” and “dearths,” or famines, and “seasons’ quality,” or the weather and subsequent quality of the harvest. This line hints at a number of conveyances, all laced with a certain irony. Though a dearth bears the meaning of a famine, it is merely one letter away from the word “death.” This blatantly reminds the reader of the gravity of natural circumstances for people of the time, and accentuates the fact that not yielding and heir was a major concern. Along with this pragmatic reason, Shakespeare uses the values of truth and beauty to emphasize the more philosophical and spiritual reasons for bearing an heir.
The introduction of language regarding astronomical and astrological references characterizes Sonnet 14. Its structure suggests that humility may procure a more welcomed cautionary tale, such as that there exists a necessity of procreation to secure a life with certain core values. The speaker places the burden of maintaining these principles on the young man’s shoulders, while also intertwining it with the burden of maintaining a society, one generation after another.
The Theme Of Love In Sonnet 141 By William Shakespeare
The theme of Sonnet 141 conveyed by William Shakespeare, using specific language and tone, is that love might not always go both ways.
In this particular sonnet, a man and a woman are in a committed relationship, but the man thinks himself foolish for loving her. For instance, the man explains that his heart loves her but he is contradictory to that. He believes the woman he loves may not be right for him. For example, he says in his lover reside “a thousand errors note”. Through the use of hyperbole, the author reveals the theme by exemplifying how many flaws the man sees in his lover. The theme expresses itself in this, as it would be unlikely for him to love one he sees so much wrong with. The critical man then goes on to say how he desires not to smell, taste, hear, “nor [share] tender feeling”. In line 6, the speaker asserts imagery to show how the man does not wish to be around his “lover” at all. Her appearance is atrocious to him. This type of language shows the reader that he may not love her at all. The man soon goes on to say he loves her, but he resents his “foolish heart for loving” her. The author’s diction in line 10 describes how it may be a mistake for him to love her. Even so, he gravitates toward the relationship that could be deteriorating to his character. He calls himself foolish for this reason as well. In conclusion, the author conveys the idea that the man is not particularly smart for sharing a relationship with a woman he has so much against.
Shakespeare writes that the man does not believe he gets much out of the relationship, further conveying the theme as the love is not both ways. To exemplify this, the man thinks out loud that she may not be the best woman for him. He knows he does not love her much and thinks he does not get enough back out of the relationship. The man says his eyes and senses despise her, but his heart “loves what they despise”. In line three, the poem shifts one of many times to where it seems as if he loves the woman, even after he talked dirt of her. This makes one see that the man is on the fence of loving her or hating her, thus conveying the theme. At one point, he says “proud hearts slave” to love one that is not right for them. Shakespeare creates a heavy tone through his use of personification to illustrate the idea that the man sees his love as a laborious task. For many obvious reasons, the man is not getting anything good out of the relationship. He even ventures as far as calling it work to love her, supporting this idea. Along with that, he describes his love for her, naming it as his “plague”. The effect of the metaphor comparing his love to a plague creates a mood of hazard and toxicity. The relationship is burdensome enough on the man to the point he would say it was like a deadly illness. The relationship does more harm than good for the man, even though his lover seems unhurt.
In summation, Shakespeare conveys the theme by displaying the idea that the man was in a relationship that bore no rewards.