Shakespeare | Sonnet 9 | Text | A Critical Study

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Shakespeare | Sonnet 9 | Text | A Critical Study

Shakespeare  Sonnet 9  Text  A Critical Study

Shakespeare | Sonnet 9 | A Critical Study

(Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9: Text, Analytical Study | Word Notes | Faqs)

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 – Text

Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That thou consumest thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die.
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children’s eyes her husband’s shape in mind.
Look, what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murderous shame commits.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9-An Analytical Study

Thematic Analysis:

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 revolves around the theme of procreation and the fear of leaving no heirs behind. The speaker is addressing a person who is reluctant to marry and have children, perhaps due to the fear of dying and leaving behind a grieving widow. The speaker argues that if the person dies without any offspring, the world will mourn them as if they were a childless widow. The world will be the person’s widow and will continue to weep over their absence because they left no physical trace of themselves behind.

The speaker then goes on to contrast the person’s fear of marriage and procreation with the wastefulness of beauty. The beauty of a person, if left unused and unappreciated, will eventually fade away and be lost forever. In contrast, the world can easily replace the things that it loses, including people, by simply moving on and enjoying what others have to offer. The speaker argues that by not marrying and having children, the person is being wasteful and committing a kind of “murderous shame” upon themselves by denying the world the opportunity to enjoy their offspring and pass on their legacy.

Literary Devices:

Shakespeare uses a series of literary devices in the sonnets as follows:

Metaphor: The speaker uses the metaphor of a childless widow to describe how the world will mourn the person’s passing if they die without any offspring. The world will be like a “makeless wife” who has no physical reminder of her husband’s existence.

Personification: The world is personified as a grieving widow who weeps over the absence of the person and mourns their loss.

Allusion: The speaker alludes to the idea of “beauty’s waste,” which refers to the idea that beauty is ephemeral and will eventually fade away if it is not used and appreciated.

Irony: The speaker uses irony to highlight the contrast between the person’s fear of marriage and procreation and the wastefulness of beauty. The person is afraid of leaving behind a grieving widow, but by not having children, they are denying the world the opportunity to mourn them properly and continue their legacy. In contrast, beauty, which is often seen as valuable, is wasted if it is not appreciated and used.

Rhyme Scheme: The sonnet follows the traditional Shakespearean rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 – Word Notes

“consum’st thyself in single life”: The speaker is asking why the subject of the poem is choosing to remain single and not marry, which would allow him to have children and continue his lineage.

“issueless”: Without children or heirs

“makeless wife”: A wife without a husband; in this context, it refers to the subject of the poem dying childless and leaving no one to carry on his name.

“unthrift”: A person who is wasteful or reckless with money.

“beauty’s waste”: The wasting or squandering of one’s beauty, which is fleeting and will eventually fade.

“the user so destroys it”: The person who wastes their beauty by not using it or passing it on to future generations is essentially destroying it.

“such murd’rous shame commits”: The speaker suggests that the subject of the poem is committing a kind of murder by choosing not to have children and pass on his beauty and talents to future generations, thereby destroying them.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 – Faqs

Q: What is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 about?
A: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 is about the speaker’s frustration and jealousy over the fact that the fair youth, who is the subject of the poem, has not yet had children to carry on his beauty and virtues.

Q: What is the structure of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 follows the traditional structure of a sonnet, consisting of 14 lines with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. It is written in iambic pentameter, meaning each line has 10 syllables with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

Q: What is the main theme of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: The main theme of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 is the passage of time and the importance of procreation in order to preserve beauty and virtue.

Q: Who is the fair youth in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: The fair youth in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 is a young man who is the subject of the poet’s admiration and affection.

Q: What is the tone of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: The tone of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 is one of frustration and desperation. The speaker is pleading with the fair youth to procreate and carry on his beauty and virtues.

Q: What literary devices are used in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 makes use of various literary devices such as personification, metaphor, and alliteration. The speaker personifies time as a destructive force that will eventually erode the youth’s beauty and virtue. The metaphor of the youth’s beauty and virtues as a “treasure” that should be shared with the world is also used. Alliteration is used in phrases such as “bare ruined choirs” and “sweet silent thought.”

Q: What is the significance of the title of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: The title of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 does not provide much context or insight into the poem’s content. It simply identifies the poem as the ninth in a series of sonnets.

Q: What is the overall message of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9?
A: The overall message of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 9 is that procreation is necessary to preserve beauty and virtue in the world. The speaker urges the fair youth to have children in order to continue his legacy and ensure that his beauty and virtues are not lost to time. ***

N.B. This article originally belongs to the book entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Critical Studies‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
  15. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD)
  16. Reviews on William Shakespeare’s Works
  17. Reviews of Charles Dickens’ Works
  18. Reviews of John Milton’s Literary Works
  19. Reviews of Some Iconic Travelogues
  20. Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Critical Studies

Additional Searches:

  1. Shakespeare’s Sonnets-Study Guide
  2. Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  3. Shakespeare Sonnets
  4. The Elizabethan Sonnet Sequence
  5. Thematic Study of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  6. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.

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