Analysis of the Shakespeare sonnets
The 1st seventeen Sonnets send a message to the poet close friend, he has an unknown identity, and he assumes that the friend exists. He is trying to convince the friend to make a move and start a family. The main aim is to install his beauty to the offspring’s that will be born as a result of marriage. The poet says that, “From the fairest creatures, from all beautiful creatures, we desire increase, we want offspring, riper, more ripe (1-10).
The major theme in the Shakespeare sonnets is Love; it conquers all the other themes. Apart from love, there are other three themes which lie under love: the transience of beauty, the brevity of life and the trappings of desire. From the first to the seventeen sonnets, Shakespeare focuses on the transience of beauty and the brevity of life themes. He is addressing a young lad. He says that, “having children to carry on one's beauty is the only way to conquer the ravages of time.” From sonnet 7, Shakespeare is trying to immortalize the young gentleman by the use of his poetry. When he ends to the last sonnets, he shifts his focus to adapt pure love which is considered a solution to mortality (sonnet116).
The trapping of desire theme is observed in sonnet 127. The poet shifts to this theme and he writes about a passionate affair which involves the dark lady. The mood that emerges is said to be dark and love comes out clear as a sickness characterized by a prominent motif (Sonnet 147). Healthy love emerges as the ideal theme in Sonnet 116 whereas diseased love theme is present in Sonnet 147. This theme can be attributed as the greatest choice by the poet.
In sonnet 18, the poet starts the poem addressing the beloved with a question, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” The lines which follow all have a comparison with the question addressed. Despite that it is summer, the speaker claims that the beloved is, “more lovely and more template.” The last quatrain of the sonnet indicates how the young man contrasts with the summer. It is said that, “his beauty will last forever (“Thy eternal summer shall not fade”) and never die.” in the stanza, Shakespeare speaks to the audience saying that the beauty of the beloved will accomplish this feat and he will never perish. He quotes that, it will live “as long as men can breathe or eyes can see.”
Sonnet 73-93 raises up the most critical issues of the first 126. Shakespeare is seen with many anxieties due to perception that he is at an old age. He brings out themes by incorporating metaphors which have different meanings. The metaphor that describes the winter day discusses harshness and emptiness that accompanies old age. In the 2nd rhyme, metaphor shifts to twilight where is based not on the chill of old age but on fading light of the youth. The speaker says that, “black night” takes away the light “by and by”.
The sonnets express true feelings of love and frustration between the characters and the poet as well as relationships. Though there are no clear indications if the love between them was true or not, it could be a possibility. The relationships in the sonnets demonstrate powerful meaning of human love between the characters and the poet. In sonnet 30, he recalls his earlier life that he did not get all the physical or emotional things he wanted in life. He mourns his past events and laments over wasting his time.
In sonnet 116, he tries to define love by telling what it is and what it is not. He says; the marriage of true minds is perfect and unchanging. He tells about love in a metaphor: a guiding star to lost ships. He goes on to say what love is not when he says; it is not susceptible to time. However, the beauty of flowers fade, true love cannot change with hours or weeks.
The complex sonnet 129 talks about sexual desires as it exist in longing, fulfillment and memories. This means lust is consumed at the present and as remembered in the future. The speaker stand on the ground of a person who has experienced the three stages of lust and can now stand and articulate the shame with the references to his past desire and consumption. The poem does not necessarily talk of sexual lust but carnal language describing of lust that is bloody, full of blame, savage, rude and swallowed bait.
The first 126 sonnets have an erotic underlying theme but not their main subject. They express a wide range of topics from poverty, painting and music, nobility, parenting to sexual betrayal and ravages of time. From 127 to 152, they become personal and intense compared to the friendship in the first bunch. The adulterous obsession, feelings of inadequacy and disgust and revulsion he feels when woman proves false offers a sequence of an awesome emotional experience. The last two are inconsequential. They are a revelation of love dealt in detail in the other sonnets.
Shakespeare William and Stephen Booth. Shakespeare's Sonnets. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. Print.
Shakespeare William, Stanley Wells, and Gary Taylor. William Shakespeare, the Complete Works. Oxford [Oxford shire: Clarendon Press, 1986. Print
Shakespeare William and Paul Hammond. Shakespeare's Sonnets: An Original-Spelling Text. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print
Fields, Bertram. Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare. New York: Regan Books, 2005. Print