Shakespeare's Sonnets by wuyunyi


									  Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Lyric Poems by William Shakespeare
Fourteen line lyric poem
Generally in iambic pentameter
10 syllables long
Popularized during Italian Renaissance
  Petrarch wrote his sonnets to an idealized love named
  Spread through Europe to England
  Used by Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca
     Refinement of Sonnet
Refined by French Pleiade poets
  Joachim Du Bellay (1522-1585)
  Pierre Ronsard (1524-1585)
 Sonnets in Elizabethan England
Sonnet was favorite form
  for lyric poets
Typically used for love
  and romance
  Sir Philip Sydney
      Two Kinds of Sonnets
Petrarchan Sonnet       Shakespearean Sonnet
  Octave and sestet       Divided into 4 parts
  Octave                  First 3 quatrains
     ABBAABBA                ABAB
     ABBACDDC                CDCD
  Sestet                     EFEF
     CDCDCD               Fourth part
     CDECDE                  Couplet
  Contrast in key way     Sequence or metaphors
  Question and answer     or ideas in each
     Shakespearean Couplet
Couplet last two lines of Shakespearean
  The couplet offers a summary of the ideas in
  the quatrains or a new take on the same ideas
Juxtaposition of Petrarchan and
    Shakespearean Sonnets
Many of Shakespeare’s sonnets impose
thematic pattern of Petrarchan sonnet onto a
formal pattern of the Shakespearean Sonnet

First two quatrains ask question
Third quatrain and couplet answer question
Shakespearean Sonnet
            Affords two additional
            rhymes, 7 in all
            Each rhyme heard only
            Enlarges range of rhyme
            sounds and words the poet
            can use
            Allows the poet to
            combine lines in complex
     Shakespearean Sonnet
Allows the poet to combine line in
rhetorically more complex ways
Special emphasis to break between the
second and third quatrain
Paired and contrasted quatrains in many
other ways
Created great range of argumentative or
dramatic effects
Shakespeare’s Sonnets
            Wrote 154 sonnets
            Contain dramatic
            Sense of story
            Each deals with highly
            personal theme
            Can be taken alone or
            in relation to other
      Shakespeare’s couplet
Invested with special significance
Summarizes or characterizes the musings of
first three quatrains in a sardonic, detached,
or aphoristic voice
Stands apart from the heartfelt and
passionate outpourings of the quatrains
        First 126 sonnets
Seem to be addressed to an unnamed young
Speaker loves the addressee very much
          Next 26 sonnets
Seem to be addressed to a mysterious
woman, the “dark lady”
The speaker loves, hates, and lusts after this
“dark lady”
     Sonnets to Young Man
Speaker competes with a rival poet for the
young man’s patronage and affection
Young man and dark lady may be lovers
themselves, which makes the speaker very
         Dedicated Sonnets
Published in quarto form in 1609
Written in the 1590’s but only shown to small
circle of friends
Dedicated to “Mr. W. H.”, the “onlie begetter” of
the poems
Could be Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton
Could be William Herbert, 3 rd Earl of Pembroke,
nephew of poet Philip Sydney, prominent courtier
under James I, patron of literary arts
    Remuneration for Lyrics
Shakespeare was disappointed if he desired
money for these lyrics
No fame, no money from the sonnets
Unacknowledged by patrons
Sold poorly
Not reprinted intact for over 70 years
Neglected, misunderstood, disparaged by
his readers
     Immortality of Sonnets
There were some signs in the text that
Shakespeare wanted the 1609 quarto to
immortalize his poetic gift and his
relationship to his noble patron
         Text of Sonnets
Homosexual love?
Heterosexual lust
Bitter tone
Dark imagery
Repudiation of sonnet conventions
Breaking conventions
            Instead of anguished
            lover after
            unattainable beloved
            Shakespeare goes
            other direction
            Strips away
            Unrelenting realism
Shakespeare’s iconoclastic style
Shakespeare shows lover burdened by
Shakespeare’s lover is sad
  Lost friends
  Failed achievements
  Weary of gossip and scorn
  Sick with futility
  Ready to flee”this vile world with vilest worms to
        Breaking the rules
Shakespeare never invokes Christian faith
of redemption
Solace comes from transient beauties of the
world and lover’s abiding sense of his own
Senses are fallible, intellect strong
Bends truth to fit the passion, emotion
Shakespeare’s Sonnets

            Can be compared to
            Montaigne’s essay about
            his love for his friend
            Etienne de la Boetie
            Can be interpreted
            Most likely written as
            more general ideas about
            love and lust

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