Shakespeare | Sonnets | A Review
Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnets’ -A Review
William Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnets’ is a collection of 154 poems that explore themes of love, beauty, mortality, and the passage of time. First published in 1609, the sonnets have been widely studied and admired for their lyrical beauty, emotional depth, and poetic complexity.
The sonnets are written in a highly structured form, consisting of 14 lines of iambic pentameter with a strict rhyme scheme. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man, and the remaining 28 are addressed to a mysterious “dark lady.” The identity of these two individuals has been the subject of much speculation and debate but remains largely unknown.
The first 17 sonnets, known as the “procreation sonnets,” urge the young man to marry and have children in order to preserve his beauty and pass on his genes. However, the tone of the sonnets becomes more ambiguous and complex as Shakespeare delves into the complexities of love and desire.
Many of the sonnets express a deep sense of longing and unrequited love, as the speaker struggles to come to terms with his own feelings and the object of his affection. Sonnet 18, perhaps the most famous of the collection, compares the beauty of the young man to a summer’s day, and concludes that his beauty will last forever in the poem itself: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
Other sonnets explore the darker aspects of love, including jealousy, betrayal, and loss. Sonnet 29, for example, begins with the speaker lamenting his own misfortunes, but ends on a note of hope and redemption: “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 / From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate.”
Throughout the collection, Shakespeare also reflects on the passage of time and the inevitability of mortality. Sonnet 73, for example, compares the speaker to a “bare ruined choir” that is slowly falling into decay, while Sonnet 116 argues that true love is constant and enduring, even in the face of death: “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks / Within his bending sickle’s compass come.”
One of the most striking features of the sonnets is their fluidity and ambiguity. Shakespeare often plays with language and metaphor, leaving the reader to interpret the meaning and significance of each poem for themselves. As a result, the sonnets continue to resonate with readers today, offering a rich and complex exploration of the human experience.
In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnets‘ is a masterful collection of poems that explores the complexities of love, beauty, mortality, and the passage of time. Written in a highly structured form and characterized by lyrical beauty and emotional depth, the sonnets continue to captivate and inspire readers today, nearly 400 years after their initial publication. 0 0 0.
N. B. This article originally belongs to the book ‘Reviews on William Shakespeare’s Works‘ by Menonim Menonimus.
Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:
- World Short Story Criticism
- World Poetry Criticism
- World Drama Criticism
- World Novel Criticism
- World Essay Criticism
- Indian English Poetry Criticism
- Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
- Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
- Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
- Critical Essays on English Poetry
- Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
- Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
- Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
- A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
- A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD)
- Reviews on William Shakespeare’s Works …