Although the power of the sonnets goes far beyond their sociocultural roots, Shakespeare nevertheless adopts the culturally inferior role of the petitioner for favor, and there is an undercurrent of social and economic powerlessness in the sonnets, especially when a rival poet seems likely to supplant the poet. What he achieved within this shared framework, however, goes far beyond any other collection of poems in the age.
They are love lyrics, and clearly grow from the social, erotic, and literary contexts of his age. Part of their greatness, however, lies in their power to be read again and again in later ages, and to raise compellingly, even unanswerably, more than merely literary questions. In his first venture into public poetry, Shakespeare chose to work within the generic constraints of the fashionable Ovidian verse romance. Venus and Adonis appealed to the taste of young aristocrats such as the earl of Southampton to whom it was dedicated.
It is a narrative poem in six-line stanzas, mixing classical mythology with surprisingly and incongruously detailed descriptions of country life, designed to illustrate the story of the seduction of the beautiful youth Adonis by the comically desperate aging goddess Venus. It is relatively static, with too much argument to make it inherently pleasurable reading.
The poem was certainly popular at the time, going through ten editions in as many years, possibly because its early readers thought it fashionably sensual.
Again, he combines a current poetical fashion—the complaint—with a number of moral commonplaces, and writes a novelette in verse: The central moral issue—that of honor—at times almost becomes a serious treatment of the psychology of self-revulsion; but the decorative and moralistic conventions of the complaint certainly do not afford Shakespeare the scope of a stage play.
There are some fine local atmospheric effects that, in their declamatory power, occasionally bring the directness and power of the stage into the verse. The Phoenix and the Turtle is an allegorical, highly technical celebration of an ideal love union: It consists of a funeral procession of mourners, a funeral anthem, and a final lament for the dead.
It is strangely evocative, dignified, abstract, and solemn. Readers have fretted, without success, over the exact identifications of its characters. Its power lies in its mysterious, eerie evocation of the mystery of unity in love. The sonnets were first published in , although numbers and had appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim a decade before. Such attempts simply fulfill an understandable anxiety on the part of some readers to see narrative continuity rather than variations and repetition in the sonnets.
They are arguably the greatest collection of love poems in the language, and they provide a crucial test for the adequacy of both the love of poetry and the sense of the fascinating confusion that makes up human love.
Each sonnet is like a little script, with often powerful directions for reading and enactment, with textual meanings that are not given but made anew in every performance, by different readers within their individual and social lives.
Sonnets and perhaps 18 are ostensibly concerned with a plea for a young man to marry; but even in this group, which many readers have seen to be the most conventional and unified, there are disruptive suggestions that go far beyond the commonplace context. What may strike contemporary readers, and not merely after an initial acquaintance with the sonnets, is the apparently unjustified level of idealization voiced by many of the sonnets—an adulatory treatment of noble love that, to a post-Freudian world, might seem archaic, no matter how comforting.
In the two hundred years since Petrarch, the sonnet had developed into an instrument of logic and rhetoric. The focus is on emotional richness, on evoking the immediacy of felt experience. Shakespeare uses many deliberately generalized epithets, indeterminate signifiers and floating referents that provoke meaning from their readers rather than providing it. Each line contains contradictions, echoes, and suggestions that require an extraordinary degree of emotional activity on the part of the reader.
The couplets frequently offer a reader indeterminate statements, inevitably breaking down any attempt at a limited formalist reading.
The greatest of the sonnets—60, 64, , as well as many others—have such an extraordinary combination of general, even abstract, words and unspecified emotional power that the reader may take it as the major rhetorical characteristic of the collection.
In particular lines, too, these poems achieve amazing power by their lack of logical specificity and emotional open-endedness. Often a reader is swept on through the poem by a syntactical movement that is modified or contradicted by associations set up by words and phrases. There is usually a syntactical or logical framework in the sonnet, but so powerful are the contradictory, random, and disruptive effects occurring incidentally as the syntax unfolds that to reduce the sonnet to its seemingly replete logical framework is to miss the most amazing effects of these extraordinary poems.
Shakespeare is writing at the end of a very long tradition of using lyric poems to examine the nature of human love, and there is a weight of insight as well as of rhetorical power behind his collection. Nowhere in the Petrarchan tradition are the extremes of erotic revelation offered in such rawness and complexity.
Most of the conventional topoi of traditional poetry are the starting points for the sonnets—the unity of lovers , the power of poetry to immortalize the beloved 18, 19, 55 , contests between eye and heart, beauty and virtue 46, , and shadow and substance 53, 98, To do so, however, would be to nullify their extraordinary power of creation, the way they force ejaculations of recognition, horror, or joy from their readers.
Unpredictability and change are at the heart of the sonnets—but it is a continually shifting heart, and one that conceives of human love as definable only in terms of such change and finitude. In Sonnet 60, for example, time is not an impartial or abstract background. Even where it is glanced at as a pattern observable in nature or humanity, it is evoked as a disruptive, disturbing experience that cannot be dealt with as a philosophical problem.
In Sonnet 15, it may be possible to enter into an understandable protest against time destroying its own creations a commonplace enough Renaissance sentiment , and to accede to a sense of helplessness before a malignant force greater than the individual human being.
When the sonnet tries, however, by virtue of its formally structured argument, to create a consciousness that seeks to understand and so to control this awareness, the reader encounters lines or individual words that may undermine even the temporary satisfaction of the aesthetic form. The sonnet does not and need not answer such questions.
To attempt criticism of the sonnets is, to an unusual extent, to be challenged to make oneself vulnerable, to undergo a kind of creative therapy, as one goes back and forth from such textual gaps and indeterminacies to the shifting, vulnerable self, making the reader aware of the inadequacy and betrayal of words, as well as of their amazing seductiveness. Consider, for example, Sonnet In the Victorian era, fate was known as….
Does he reveal himself as being sexist and misogynist? In how far are his views about the sexes influenced by the conceptions of gender in the…. Attention grabbing opening statement b. Background info on the topic c. The notorious Shakespearean play Macbeth illustrates a natural evil and greed for power present in the human race.
Even in modern times, society relates to Macbeth as people are consistently striving for a higher rank and power. Sometimes, people are even prepared to get into difficult situations to achieve their goals, and this gives rise….
If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less. William Shakespeare Essay Examples. Previous Go to page. Hamlet and Lion King Comparison Still captivating people today, the story elements and classic plot of Hamlet, written by the influential William Shakespeare, have made it to the film screen in a version that the whole family can enjoy. Othello Portia and Desdemona Othello, Portia and DesdemonaIntroductionThey say art lives forever, while some say that nothing lasts forever, but nothing is as timeless in literature as the works of one William Shakespeare and his play, A midsummer Nights Dream.
The Merchant of Venice and Othello The Merchant of Venice and Othello are similar Shakespeare plays with a number of occurrences where both non-whites and non-Christian characters are victimized on the basis of race and prejudice.
The definition… Caliban Close reading The Tempest. Abuse of power Vs Spiritual Redemption The Tempest is full of different themes that work perfectly to bring out the mastery of Shakespeare. Essay on Different dictionaries provide a number of meanings to the word fool. The level of creativity is required in the development of lasting and satisfactory understanding of… Malvolio Science Sir Toby Belch Twelfth Night Voice. How does the impossibility of certainty affect Hamlet?
This play poses a certain number of questions that other plays would have taken for… Ophelia Polonius. Agamemnon vs Hamlet I think that Hamlet was more tragic in comparison to Agamemnon. Hamlet is plotting to kill his own uncle and is speaks of his own mother in a hateful manner… Agamemnon Gertrude Ophelia Polonius.
Parents and children in Romeo and Juliet Juliet is the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, a wealthy and well-respected family. Her parents remain unaware of their relationship, and are determined that she marries Paris; it is… Child Childhood Children Family Marriage Relations.
Theme of Revenge in Hamlet In the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, several characters attempt to lure their foes into their death as payback for any wrongdoing. Fate or Free will Romeo and Juliet Fate: In how far are his views about the sexes influenced by the conceptions of gender in the… Feminism Gender Gertrude Iago Ophelia Polonius.
Essay Topics on The Winter's Tale Shakespeare Study Guides Here you will find a detailed analysis of selected plays, including information on the major characters and themes, study questions, annotations, and the theatrical history of each drama.
The Tempest is one of Shakespeare's great comedies, and it can be really fun and meaningful for students. This lesson offers some essay topics that will help them think critically about the play.
% FREE Papers on Shakespeare essay. Sample topics, paragraph introduction help, research & more. Class , high school & college. -. 20 Great Ideas for Term Paper Topics on Shakespeare Shakespeare is one of the most assigned study topics for research papers and homework assignments during their academic careers. This is going to be an important part of your literature assignments so you need to study about the author carefully.
Aug 23, · Suggested Essay Topics. 1. Discuss one or more of the play’s comic scenes involving Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban. How does Shakespeare use the very limited resources of his bare stage to create a sense of realism? How are we introduced to the characters? How does this introduction affect our perception of them later? How does the. William Shakespeare Essay Topics. A play which explores the effect of relationships. Task: Choose a play which explores relationships in a family/community. What strengths and/or weaknesses are apparent in these relationships and what is the overall effect on the family/community.