Shakespeare’s Sonnets Analysis

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Shakespeare, regarded the greatest sonneteer of all time, had taken the untried in form and substance in his sonnets.

In his time, sonnets followed the conventional Petrarchan form and content that Shakespeare’s deviation was initially disturbing, but much later was subject of interesting analyses. Petrarchan sonnets dealt with conventional love, but Shakespeare went beyond when he wrote of the dark side of man, politics, and eroticism bordering on pornography. He demystified beauty, crossed and confused genders, and poke fun on love. In 13th century Italy, sonnets were begun and popularized by Petrarch.

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A sonnet was a poem of 14 lines, the first 8 lines or octet was the opening, and the last 6 lines or the sestet was the closing. It had a rhyme scheme, abbaabba cdeede. The conflict in the octet was resolved in the sestet. It followed the usual theme of the ardent suitor yearning for the love of an elusive, extraordinary beauty.

The English sonnet version was by Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard in the 16th century. This was a modification of the Petrarchan in form and substance. This was what will be known as the Shakespearean sonnets.

From the octet-sestet division, it was divided into 3 quatrains and a couplet for closing. The variation in theme was on the woman-object of love. In the Shakespearean sonnets the once-admired beauty was portrayed as scheming and contemptuous, therefore undeserving of love. Much had been speculated as to why Shakespeare had moved away from the traditional subject of the sonnet.

Somehow, the sonnets saw publication and the sonnets went under scrutiny for identities of the Fair Youth, the Dark Lady and the Rival Poet. The frequent mention of a Will in the sonnets gave the scholars some clue. They had the idea that the sonnets were taken from Shakespeare’s own experiences and the characters were real people who were part of his life. In the Elizabethan Literature, poets gave such a wide range of emotions to their sonnets.

Their wit and genius wove their way into their works. Shakespeare and his Sonnets stood out through time.True enough even in death, both the poet and his Fair Youth had been immortalized in the Sonnets. In all the quests for the reasons and persons alluded to in the sonnets, none would come nearest to the truth than the theory that the Sonnets were in honor of Shakespeare’s patron who was his Sonnet’s Fair Youth.

The love, admiration, and concern he professed in the first 126 Sonnets were proof of the high esteem with which held his patron. The Sonnets was among the greatest works of Shakespeare. He would not allude to or dedicate it just to anybody. He chose his patron to honor with the Sonnets.

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