by William Shakespeare

Surrounded by mystery, these poems of devotion and jealousy, of a young courtier and a Dark Lady, have been the subject of end speculation.

H. Auden wrote, "...what is astonishing about the sonnets, especially when one remembers the age in which they were written, is the impression they make of naked autobiographical confession."Because they are witty, passionate, personal, and often ever bawdy, The Sonnets stand as one of the greatest poetic tributes ever written to a beloved.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Poetry
  • Rating: 4.25
  • Pages: 488
  • Publish Date: August 21st 1997 by Bloomsbury Academic
  • Isbn10: 1903436575
  • Isbn13: 9781903436578

What People Think about "Sonnets"

Whether you enjoy rhymes or prefer just the beauty of the words, the lines definitely create images in your mind of what he's writing about. I enjoy them because it's a momentary breath of something new and different. here's the scoop: I read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world.

The speaker remembers his love and conquers his jealously. He remembers his love for his king and his lord and realises that such wealth will not bring the fulfilment he seeks. Simply put, it doesnt really get any better than this.

The fact that Thomas Thorpe, a poet, editor and admirer of Shakespeare, and not the author himself published this collection casts a shadow over the present order of the sonnets and their ostensible story line. Everything else is mere speculation, but as per usual, Shakespeare teases with ambiguous piquancy as shown in Sonnet 144, which summarizes the main plot of the anthology in 4 stanzas: Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill. A love triangle that consists of a fair man, a dark woman and the poet himself divides the sonnets in two noticeably different sections and presents a subversive approach to the foundations of courtly love employed by medieval troubadours because the Muse that stimulates inspiration seems to possess an adrogynous essence. Whereas the fair knight awakens tenderness, blind adoration and the purest expressions of affection in stanzas that are replete with natural imagery and astute analogies of daily life scenes, the dark lady, addressed only in the last 28 sonnets, disturbs the poet with her unchaste promiscuity and adulterous love. Ironically enough, both lovers, fair man and dark woman, remain anonymous while the true identity of the poet has created havoc for centuries and his works continue to unleash passions among all kind of readers around the world.

Academic people may debate upon the authenticity and ramifications of the sonnets' interpretation, but the people who love literature and lover poetic pieces will keep enjoying the writing and extract pure pleasure out of the pure poetry produced by Shakespeare in his sequence.

Even when he departed from most conventional expectations of poetry, Shakespeare was still able to leave his imprint on the very sonnet form itself. The Chatter of the Critics Now we come to the depressing aspect: critical discussion on these, some of the best love poetry in the language, unfortunately centers more on historical speculation than on philosophical or aesthetic appreciation. Scholarship have been tragically been too sidetracked on this issue - away from the heart of poetry to its scholarly peripheries where readers might not want to accompany them. I wish some of these elaborate commentaries and footnotes that accompany almost every word of these sonnets were focussed instead on how the poems should be interpreted personally by the reader! Imagine if all poems were disassociated from the reader and read purely from a historical perspective of the authors love-life or forensically on figuring out who it was addressed to - poetry would lose much of its universality! Instead, the reader should accept that the sonnets are so heavily patterned that almost any form could be seen in it - they are like the clouds, you only need to have enough enthusiasm and imagination to mould them to yourselves. Shakespeare begins his sonnets by introducing four of his most important themes - immortality, time, procreation, and selfishness and then plays them off against each other: Sonnets of abject praise generate undertones of irony and criticism; Sonnets of abject depression generate undertones of hope and eternity; Sonnets of worldly criticism generate undertones of the exalted nature of poetry; Sonnets singing boasts about the power of poetry generate undertones of fear of mortality - the variations are endless and exhilarating. No one has ever attempted a solution of the problem without leaving a book behind him; and the shrine of Shakespeare is thickly hung with these votive offerings, all withered and dusty.' Wilson adopts this metaphor and elaborates: Raleighs cave of mystery calls another to mind, Plato's cave of illusion, in which the human race sit chained with their backs to the sun without, and are condemned to accept the passing shadows on the wall before them for the truththe real truth being only revealed to the few who are able to break their bonds and turn to face the light of day. The Philosophy Vs The Biography Coming back to the sonnets themselves, one of the continuous experiences that enthrall the reader is to see how the sonnets keeps defying expectations and conventions. Peter Ackroyd, in his biography of Shakespeare, speculates that Shakespeare experimented and stretched the sonnet form to its breaking point - perhaps because he was bored of poetry, which came too easy to him. But even as these exalt us, even while we may be in awe at the overwhelming force of Shakespeares imagination, we would also be melancholy at the theme of relentless failure expressed in the poems, over and over, dealing with self-deception and betrayal; with the inadequacy of the mind, or the imagination, or poetry, to have any effect, even on the poets own feelings. Even the conclusion of this is almost wistful, a testimony to the ultimate powerlessness of the art that has been so hyperbolically praised, but at the same time leaving it hanging in mid-air, since we do not really know if these 'concluding' sonnets are really the conclusion, or if they were ordered right, or if Shakespeare intended to contrast the theme of the 'concluding' couple of sonnets by another soaring portrayal of Cupid reasserting himself. While this is indeed true, we again lack the tools or the certainty to convert the individual sonnets into a plot - we might try to understand a philosophy of love and life from these meditations, but to hunt for a plot among them can only take away from the pleasure and the true experience of it.

Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime; So thou through windows of thine age shalt see, Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.

Ive always wanted to read VGMs take, not only because of the sonnets, but also because of VGMs translation. Because in the iambic pentameter we have five feet of two syllables each, there is a rooted belief among translators and scholars of the English-speaking poems in pentameter verse should be translated into decasyllables, thus allowing a formal equivalence between the two systems. However, many translators have chosen the Alexandrine, on the grounds that the English is much more concise than the Portuguese and therefore to express all ideas contained in the original - that is, so there is semantic equivalence we would need to use longer lines.

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.