Cliffs Notes on Shakespeare's Sonnets by Carl Senna

By Carl Senna

Numbering greater than one hundred fifty, Shakespeare's sonnets have contributed considerably to discussions of the elusive personality of the Bard. whereas many of the poems are addressed to a tender guy, others invoke the popular darkish woman. each one sonnet is interpreted, concentrating on language specific to the poem, in addition to on how the sonnet shape furthers that means. moreover, Shakespeare's significant issues of affection and sweetness; mutability; and time and immortality are explored.

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The sonnet has a sad, wistful tone as the poet seeks a way to rekindle the love that bound their relationship. • contracted new newly betrothed. SONNET 57 In Sonnet 57, the poet argues that he is not so much the young man’s friend as he is his slave. ” Following so closely after the soaring verse of Sonnet 55, the poet’s quick descent into self-pity makes his situation even more pathetic. SONNET 58 As in so many other sonnets, the poet’s annoyance with the young man is expressed ambiguously. ” Nor does he expect an accounting of the youth’s time.

SONNET 60 Sonnet 60 is acknowledged as one of Shakespeare’s greatest because it deals with the universal concerns of time and its passing. In the sonnet, time is symbolized by concrete images. For example, the opening two lines present a simile in which time is represented by “waves” and “minutes”: “Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, / So do our minutes hasten to their end”; here, death is “the pebbled shore”—another concrete image. In the second quatrain, the poet laments time’s unfairness.

Whereas in earlier sonnets the poet worried that his verse was not good enough to convey his intense love for the young man, now he worries about whether the young man is as good as his verse conveyed. Metaphorically, the young man is like the sun, which “with golden face” warms and brightens the earth. However, the sun allows “the basest clouds” to block its rays, and the young man permits loyalties to other people to interfere with his relationship with the poet. The poet accepts that the friend has betrayed him—”But, out alack, he was but one hour mine”—but he also realizes that the burden of blame must be his own for having assumed that outward beauty corresponds to inner virtue.

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