Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Beauty fades.  The wall approaches.  The language in these sonnets is beautiful, but the sentiment is blunt enough:  you won’t be pretty forever. Your beauty can only live on in your progeny.

“And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence” (12).

There is a subtle shift or movement in how to combat the ravages of Time.  At first the author suggests that she live through her progeny. By Sonnet 21 he is suggesting his poetry will make her immortal.

Evidently the poet is depressed, but  no matter; for, “

thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings” (29).

Did she cheat on him in Sonnet 35?  

We see a distinction in speakers in Sonnet 41.  We have the author advising the young male to marry, but also implying some knowledge of the lady as well.

Sonnet 130 marks a shift to the “dark woman.”  I’m not going to bother figuring out what she symbolizes.  I know too many people like her to think that she has to be a symbol.  She’s ugly, though, and she can’t fall back upon her personality. The speaker thinks he is in love with her, despite her appearance, but this is a toxic relationship.  

That might be the point.  Reason is the physician to love and the physician was ignored (Sonnet 147).


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