Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"

Essay, 2008, 3 pages, grade: 2,0, katharina ochsenfahrt (author).

Abstract or Introduction

William Shakespeare is a famous poet of the 16th century. He was born in 1564 in Stratfort on Avon and became famous as a playwrite in London at the famous Globe Theater. Shakespeare wrote his sonnets probably over a period of several years satarting in 1594. They were first published as a collection of 154 poems in 1609. In his sonnet “18” William Shakespeare illustrates the beauty of the young man, who will be remembered forever because of this poem.

  • No comments yet.

Title: Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"

Similar texts

Title: Shakespeares Sonnets

Shakespeares Sonnets

Title: Gryphius' "Abend" vs. Shakespeares "Sonnet 17": Der Aufbau der Gedankenführung im Vergleich

Gryphius' "Abend" vs. S...

Title: William Shakespeare - Sonnet 57

William Shakespeare - Sonnet 57

Title: Global Distributions for COVID-2019 Vaccines. A Short Essay about Health Concepts

Global Distributions for COVID-2019 V...

Title: A Short Essay on the Elizabethan Stage and its Language

A Short Essay on the Elizabethan Stag...

Title: Analyse des 18. Gedichts aus Shakespeares Sonnetzyklus

Analyse des 18. Gedichts aus Shakespe...

Title: Comparison and Contrast Essay:  Shakespeare's Sonnet 60 vs. Sonnet 144

Comparison and Contrast Essay: Shake...

Title: Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Bible

Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Bible

Title: The ‘Fair Youth’ and the ‘Dark Lady’ in Shakespeare’s sonnets and their relationship to the Poetic Persona

The ‘Fair Youth’ and the ‘Dark Lady’ ...

Title: Shaking up Shakespeare. A Creative Approach to Teach Shakespearean Sonnets in the EFL Classroom

Shaking up Shakespeare. A Creative Ap...

Title: Shakespeare's sonnets 15, 16 and 17. The immortalizing power of poetry and procreation

Shakespeare's sonnets 15, 16 and ...

Title: Analysis and Interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60

Analysis and Interpretation of Willia...

Title: Comparing Shakespearean and Petrarchan Sonnets. Shakespeares Addressees in his Sonnets 9 and 127

Comparing Shakespearean and Petrarcha...

Title: The poet's slyest invitation of sexual jubilation. About Shakespeare's sonnet 143

The poet's slyest invitation of s...

Title: Interpretation of Shakespeare's "Sonnet 128"

Interpretation of Shakespeare's &...

Title: A Close Reading Of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

A Close Reading Of William Shakespear...

Title: Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Blemished love?

Shakespeare's Sonnet 116: Blemish...

Title: Harry Frankfurts Essay 'On Bullshit' als sprachkritischer Ansatz?

Harry Frankfurts Essay 'On Bullsh...

Title: Essay on "Disgrace" by J. M. Coetzee

Essay on "Disgrace" by J. M...

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book - High royalties for the sales - Completely free - with ISBN - It only takes five minutes - Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free

Title: Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"


Essay on The Sonnet

Literary analysis of an echo sonnet by robert pack.

A sonnet by definition is, a poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line. A poem is a piece of writing that says a lot in a few words; this sonnet does exactly that, it utilizes a multitude of literary devices to tell a story of a writer examining life with an ending message to push forward and go. In “An Echo Sonnet”, the author, Robert Pack uses repetition, hypophora, antithesis and synecdoche to reveal the voice experiencing writer's block which leads to the discussion of life and death between the voice and the echo.

Sonnet 73 Analysis Essay

The couplet of this sonnet renews the speaker's wish for their love, urging her to "love well" which he must soon leave. But after the third quatrain, the speaker applauds his lover for having courage and adoration to remain faithful to him. The rhyme couplet suggests the unconditional love between the speaker and his

A Close Reading Of Sonnet 18

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (“Sonnet 18”) is one of Shakespeare’s most famous poems. It is the model English, or Shakespearean sonnet: it contains three quatrains and a finishing couplet.. The poem follows the traditional English sonnet form by having the octet introduce an idea or set up the poem, and the sestet beginning with a volta, or turn in perspective. In the octet of Sonnet 18, Shakespeare poses the question “Shall I compare the to a summer’s day” and basically begins to describe all the bad qualities of summer. He says it’s too windy, too short, too hot, and too cloudy. Eventually fall is going to come and take away all the beauty because of the changes nature brings. In the sestet, however, his tone changes as he begins to talk about his beloved’s “eternal summer” (Shakespeare line 9). This is where the turn takes place in the poem. Unlike the summer, their beauty will never fade. Not even death can stop their beauty for, according to Shakespeare, as long as people can read this poem, his lover’s beauty will continue to live. Shakespeare believes that his art is more powerful than any season and that in it beauty can be permanent.

Essay on Comparison Between the Great Gatsby and Ebb Sonnets

‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’ was written during the 19th Century in the period known as the

Love and Lust in the Lyrics (Shakespeare's Sonnets)

A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines that rhyme in a particular pattern. William Shakespeare’s sonnets were the only non-dramatic poetry that he wrote. Shakespeare used sonnets within some of his plays, but his sonnets are best known as a series of one hundred and fifty-four poems. The series of one hundred and fifty-four poems tell a story about a young aristocrat and a mysterious mistress. Many people have analyzed and contemplated about the significance of these “lovers”. After analysis of the content of both the “young man” sonnets and the “dark lady sonnets”, it is clear that the poet, Shakespeare, has a great love for the young man and only lusts after his mistress.

George Gascoigne's 'For That He Looked Not Upon Her'

The poem’s structure as a sonnet allows the speaker’s feelings of distrust and heartache to gradually manifest themselves as the poem’s plot progresses. Each quatrain develops and intensifies the speaker’s misery, giving the reader a deeper insight into his convoluted emotions. In the first quatrain, the speaker advises his former partner to not be surprised when she “see[s] him holding [his] louring head so low” (2). His refusal to look at her not only highlights his unhappiness but also establishes the gloomy tone of the poem. The speaker then uses the second and third quatrains to justify his remoteness; he explains how he feels betrayed by her and reveals how his distrust has led him

Sonnet 12 Essay

In modern times, youth and beauty is an image seen everywhere. For example, a Versace billboard, magazine ad, TV commercial, all of which displays images of beautiful people. But what happens when this beauty fades? Shakespeare in his 12th sonnet talks about his experience and fading beauty. The purpose of this poem is to encourage a young man to not lose his beauty to the ravages of time. In order to do this, one must reproduce so beauty will live.

An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 Essay example

  • 3 Works Cited

Since its introduction in the 1530s, nearly every major British and American poet has made use of the form" (Sonnet xxi). In Versification, James McAuley defines that the sonnet is, "In the strict sense, a fourteen-line poem usually in iambic pentameters. The Italian or petrachan type, consists of an octet, usually rhymed cdecde or in some permutation of these. The English sonnet type consists of three quatrains plus a concluding couplet, rhymed variously, the Shakespearian form being abab cdcd efef gg. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century use, the term was also loosely applied to any lyric poem, especially a love-poem, as in [John] Donne's (1572-1631) Songs and Sonnets" (82).

Essay on Poem Analysis – Sonnet 116

the first of the two lines he uses the word ‘mark’ which means buoy to

William Shakespeare's Sonnet #55 Essay

  • 1 Works Cited

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet #55 is a Shakespearian sonnet. It contains three quatrains, or four line stanzas, and ends with a couplet. The poem is written in iambic pentameter William Shakespeare’s Sonnet #55 is a Shakespearian sonnet. It contains three quatrains, or four line stanzas, and ends with a couplet. The poem is written in iambic pentameter.

Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds Admit Impediments

Ultimately, Shakespeare expresses his own feelings and opinions through the sonnet. His usage of language techniques helps him do so. Love is shown to be not only a quality, but it is personified as a perfect, unchanging thing, unaffected by time. Shakespeare has really proved himself to be a prolific writer and extraordinarily capable poet as result of this

Essay on Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 20

has the gentle heart of a woman but is not inconsistent as is the way

Analysis of Holy Sonnet XIV Essay

Donne even goes so far as to command God to destroy the person he has

Essay Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

During the Renaissance period, most poets were writing love poems about their lovers/mistresses. The poets of this time often compared love to high, unrealistic, and unattainable beauty. Shakespeare, in his sonnet 18, continues the tradition of his time by comparing the speakers' love/mistress to the summer time of the year. It is during this time of the year that the flowers and the nature that surround them are at there peak for beauty. The theme of the poem is to show the speakers true interpretation of beauty. Beauties worst enemy is time and although beauty might fade it can still live on through a person's memory or words of a poem. The speaker realizes that beauty, like the subject of the poem, will remain perfect not in the

Essay On The Dark Lady In Shakespeare's Sonnet

William Shakespeare’s comprehensive imagery and details contribute to a perfect representation of Elizabethan court life. Strangely, little is known about the true identity of the prolific writer. Through countless conspiracy theories and historians digging through records and examining every word used, Shakespeare is simply invisible. Historians believe identifying Shakespeare’s characters in his masterpieces will bring them a step closer to his true identity. Trouble is, Shakespeare’s characters also are conflicting and this creates a never-ending cycle of theories. Since most sonnets, which were read in sequence, have been thought to be autobiographical, Shakespeare’s Sonnets create a bit of hope. In Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the Dark Lady

Related Topics

  • Rhyme scheme

The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Essay

Introduction, musings about youth, an unorthodox take on love, beauty as a matter of perception, works cited.

William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the most significant individuals who has managed to shape the carcass of modern culture. Little glimpses into his life show that Shakespeare was a talented playwright, actor, and poet who grew up in English market life. He then moved to London only to return to Stratford-upon-Avon to become a wealthy landowner. Still, Shakespeare is rightfully regarded as one of the most influential artists humanity has ever known. Known both for his poetic talent and genius prose, Shakespeare established his literary style, which impacted the world of literature and became the foundation of the majority of modern clichés. Interestingly, William Shakespeare’s works were somewhat of a novelty during his lifetime. The author aimed to deconstruct common approaches to poetry and prose by experimenting with the themes of his works. Shakespeare’s commitment to unconventionality is the reason for his broad appeal even today. The writer’s skill to manipulate language and dialogue to convey a unique message makes him stand out even among 21st-century novelists.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets are full of romantic imagery and musings about love, time, mortality, and beauty. On the one hand, they are testaments to those who came before Shakespeare – Virgil, Ovid, Plutarch, and others. On the other hand, this paper includes an in-depth discussion about Shakespeare’s mastery in presenting the themes of love and beauty from an atypical perspective. First, it examines Shakespeare’s unconventional take on love and youth in Sonnets 52 and 72. Then, the paper transitions into an analysis of Shakespeare challenging the literary traditions of writing about romance. Lastly, the essay includes a section dedicated to Shakespeare’s unorthodox descriptions of beauty.

As of 2020, it is absurd to perceive a man writing about love in 16th century England as a rebel. Nonetheless, William Shakespeare managed to set a standard for his successors by challenging the literary dogma and stretching the limits of artistic expression. Critics note that “the hegemony of English as a global lingua franca, reinforced by the dominance of English on the Internet, helped to solidify the sense that Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the English language, is now a global reference point” (Lanier 1271). Being the most cherished English writer in the history of language, William Shakespeare left behind enough plays and poems to challenge any scholar trying to critically analyze the writer’s masterpieces. Nevertheless, this essay is going to focus on Shakespeare’s Sonnets as the author’s most popular works, which continue to receive praise from critics and book worms worldwide.

Shakespeare has demonstrated the genius of innovation and experimentation in the way he described the experience of loving something. Sonnet 52 takes an unconventional approach to love and the test of time. Shakespeare argues that the more time people spend apart from someone they have deep feelings for, the more special the love becomes. The poet incorporates an analogy to make readers invested in the examination of time and love. He compares the time spent away from a lover to a rich man resisting to see his biggest treasure. Shakespeare goes against the literary traditions of Elizabethan poetry and emphasizes the importance of moderation even in something as beautiful as love. Another way Shakespeare adds a unique personal touch to the Sonnet is by directing his musings about love not to a specific person, or an object even, but to youth. Shakespeare demonstrates that it is possible to admire and have strong feelings for something non-material. This idea has been fresh and unorthodox at the time, which made Shakespeare stand out. In Sonnet 78, Shakespeare continues to develop the theme of youth. He portrays something he loves (youth) as his greatest inspiration. Again, the writer uses something non-material as a source of love and artistic expression. Shakespeare’s muse does not have a gender, a skin color, or even a face, which makes the Sonnet challenge the established notions of beauty, love, and youth.


William Shakespeare streetcars the limits of Elizabethan society and presents an unconventional love story in his play “Much Ado About Nothing.” The writer challenges the readers to compare the two young couples and recognize the romantic problems they face. In “Much Ado about Nothing,” the playwright pokes fun at Elizabethan literary dogma and portrays a relationship, which seems perfect from the outside but is ultimately doomed because young lovers do not have genuine feelings for one another. In contrast, the play features a couple that includes opposite personalities. These characters are both strong-headed and unwilling to express their true feelings for each other. Despite that, Shakespeare demonstrates that love is chaotic and unexpected rather than pre-planned and perfect. Paul A. Kottman notes that the theme of love in literary works is “a matrix through which to better grasp broad social-historical-institutional transformations.” Thus, even though society might seem to prefer a certain type of love story, artists need to portray realistic relationships in their work. As of 2020, this notion extends to the inclusion of romantic plots featuring LGBTQ+ or disabled characters. What makes Shakespeare so innovative is that his decision to focus on the superficial vs. real still has the potential to resonate with so many young people. Although the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is imperfect, it is grounded in authentic feelings, which is the definition of “love.” Their story is worth rooting for simply because of its genuine and raw emotional appeal, rather than the characters’ seemingly perfect compatibility.

Claudio and Hero are polite, well-mannered, and have a high social status, which is solidified once they get together. Their story is an example of a common portrayal of romance in Elizabethan literature. Shakespeare mocks these established tropes by showing the audience how superficial the relationship between Claudio and Hero is. Once Claudio suspects Hero of cheating, he rejects and humiliates her in front of people. This behavior is not synonymous with love, which proves that the feelings between Claudio and Hero are artificial. Society expects them to be together, which Shakespeare criticizes in the play. Claudio’s love for Hero is based solely on appearances and existing social ideologies, which is why he is ready to talk about his feelings for Hero so openly, discussing their intimate moments with his friends. The fact that Don John can trick Claudio into believing him is another example of the artificiality of Claudio’s feelings. Claudio knows little to nothing about the girl he is willing to profess his love to, which is why it is easy for others to cloud his judgment, praying on his vulnerability and ignorance regarding Hero as a person. Claudio’s feelings for Hero are an infatuation, which explains why he idealizes her and becomes obsessed with her sexual honor.

While Claudio has no feelings, to begin with, Benedick is just too afraid to express his. Throughout the play, Benedick tries to downplay his feelings for Beatrice and make them seem coincidental. However, the strength of his authenticity breaks through the artificially created mask he covers his heart with. Although Benedick’s failure to confess his love for Beatrice is an example of his emotional instability, Shakespeare demonstrates that Beatrice and Benedick are perfect for each other. Going against the common ideas surrounding perfect relationships, the playwright tells the story of two flawed and ill-tempered people falling in love. Although both Beatrice and Benedick are not regarded highly in the society of the time, they manage to rebel against the social norm and find happiness in one another. Benedick and Beatrice confessing their love for one another is the culmination of Shakespeare’s unorthodox vision of love. In “Much Ado about Nothing,” the writer emphasizes the importance of looking beyond what is considered normal or socially acceptable, particularly when it comes to love. Beatrice and Benedick serve as an example of love extending further than infatuation and physical attraction to the depths of deep connection.

Irrefutably, beauty is one of the underlying themes of the Shakespearean Sonnet. The writer’s appreciation of and love of beauty is expressed through an identified muse. Although Shakespeare shows readers how magnificent his muse looks through his eyes, he tries to stay away from relying too much on hyperboles. Writers tend to exaggerate the character’s feelings to make the story more exciting. Poets, in particular, are the ones to blame for setting unrealistic standards when it comes to beauty and love. Shakespeare seemed to recognize that a person’s looks, even if they are the epitome of beauty, would not take his breath away or start a revolution. The writer decided to take a realistic approach to describe the beauty of those around him. Even though Shakespeare’s descriptions of beauty are more subdued than those of fellow poets and dramatists, they have a special sense of genuineness and rawness, which makes them so appealing to broad audiences.

Despite the writer’s avoidance of exaggerations, he does not shy away from his musings on beauty and jumps right into praising the magnificence of the muse in Sonnet 130. This Sonnet tries to challenge the established way beauty is described in poetry. Following their artistic instincts, poets often portray the features of their beloved in unrealistic ways. Shakespeare manages to do just the opposite in Sonnet 130 by turning the idea of female beauty on its head. The writer provides readers with an alternative view of appreciating a woman, despite her imperfections. In a way, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is an answer to the works of the Elizabethan era, which followed Petrarchan ideals and continually praised a woman’s beauty.

William Shakespeare shows his genius by crafting a poem that breaks the rules of convention and breaks new literary grounds. Although Sonnet 130 explores common themes of beauty and love, it realistically approaches them. The poet abandons flowery language and absurd hyperboles in favor of praising the mistress’ imperfections. He accepts the heroine’s shortcomings and sees her as a real woman without any poetic falsity. By doing so, Shakespeare also rejects the idea that love relies on an illusion of perfection. Sonnet 130 is an honest love poem that serves as an antithesis to the sweet idealism of Petrarchan ideals prominent at the time.


Another important aspect of Shakespeare’s unconventionality when it comes to the theme of beauty is the writer’s commitment to showing that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. The poet recognizes that beauty standards tend to change over time, while people’s admiration of beauty remains constant. William Shakespeare takes a unique approach to explore the theme of beauty in Sonnet 127. In this poem, he emphasizes how important it is to understand that everyone has their interpretation of beauty. Sonnet 127 begins with Shakespeare challenging the standards of beauty predominantly in Elizabethan days. He defends his “Dark Lady,” a brunette who does not fit the ideals of fairness in females. Shakespeare masterfully critiques the society he is a part of by describing the sacrifices women make to achieve an illusion idea of beauty. The poet expresses his concern over women using cosmetics to mask their natural features, which leads to artificiality. Moreover, the writer notes that people sacrifice the constancy of what is beautiful for fickle ideas of what a woman should look like. The themes explored in Sonnet 127 can resonate with the current generation of girls using plastic surgery of dieting to achieve the ideal.

One of the prominent ideas of the poem is that beauty is subjective. No one can stay impartial when it comes to the matters of beauty and love, according to Shakespeare. Therefore, the poet’s admiration of the Dark Lady is unique to him. While others may dismiss the looks or character of Shakespeare’s muse, he continues to praise her magnificence. The poet stands in opposition to the established literary traditions of Elizabethan poetry. He declares that beauty should not be a priority since it is subjective and often changes by emerging trends.

In conclusion, the current generation needs to recognize the genius of William Shakespeare. The playwright and poet used his kills to stretch the limits of literature and art, in general. Shakespeare was a true rebel who decided to stand in opposition to what was common. The writer established his influence by experimenting with the exploration of themes such as love and beauty. In the history of the English language, Shakespeare should be known as one of the pioneers of realism. Although the literary dogma of 16 th century England left a footprint on Shakespearean style, the author remained authentic and unapologetic in his works. Shakespeare’s Sonnets are a great example of the writer’s unconventionality in approaching the notions of beauty and love. Despite these themes being extremely popular, Shakespeare manages to offer a fresh take to his readers by critiquing the absurdity of some of the existing social norms. The writer argues that love often grows with time. Shakespeare also challenges the idea of a perfect relationship in his Sonnet. Lastly, the poet rejects the existing beauty standards and praises the magnificence of a woman who does not fit them. As a result, Shakespeare secures his spot as one of the most innovative writers with a unique perspective on things.

Caseley, Laura. “Learn How Our Standards Of Beauty Have Changed Throughout History.” Little Things, 2016, Web.

Jover, Loui. “Annotated Shakespeare Collage.” Saatchi Art , 2020. Web.

Kottman, Paul A. “Shakespeare, Love, and Language.” Shakespeare Quarterly , 2020. Oxford Academic.

Lanier, Douglas. “Shakespeare and Popular Culture.” The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare , 2019, pp. 1261-1273.

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, February 28). The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

"The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets." IvyPanda , 28 Feb. 2022,

IvyPanda . (2022) 'The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets'. 28 February.

IvyPanda . 2022. "The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets." February 28, 2022.

1. IvyPanda . "The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets." February 28, 2022.


IvyPanda . "The Brilliance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets." February 28, 2022.

  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare
  • “Much Ado About Nothing” the Film by Kenneth Branagh
  • Shakespeare’s Use of Multiple Plot Lines in Much Ado About Nothing
  • "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare
  • Beatrice From Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”
  • "Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Book of Ruth"
  • Character in "After the Winter" Novel by Nettel
  • "I Am Offering This Poem" by Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • "The World Is Too Much with Us" and "Windhover": Comparison
  • Lucille Clifton's Respond to Whiteman’s Poetry
  • Edward “Blackbeard” Teach
  • John Keats: Life, Illness and Poetry
  • Virginia Woolf and the Role of Women
  • Strengths and Opportunities for Improvement as a Writer

essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  • My Preferences
  • My Reading List
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets

William Shakespeare

  • Literature Notes
  • About Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Sonnets 153 and 154
  • William Shakespeare Biography
  • Critical Essay
  • Is Shakespeare Shakespeare?
  • Full Glossary for Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • Essay Questions
  • Cite this Literature Note

Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets

A sonnet is a 14-line poem that rhymes in a particular pattern. In Shakespeare's sonnets, the rhyme pattern is abab cdcd efef gg, with the final couplet used to summarize the previous 12 lines or present a surprise ending. The rhythmic pattern of the sonnets is the iambic pentameter. An iamb is a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable and one unstressed syllable — as in dah-DUM, dah-DUM dah-DUM dah-DUM dah-DUM. Shakespeare uses five of these in each line, which makes it a pentameter. The sonnet is a difficult art form for the poet because of its restrictions on length and meter.

Although the entirety of Shakespeare's sonnets were not formally published until 1609 (and even then, they were published without the author's knowledge), an allusion to their existence appeared eleven years earlier, in Francis Meres' Palladis Tamia (1598), in which Meres commented that Shakespeare's "sugred Sonnets" were circulating privately among the poet's friends. Approximately a year later, William Jaggard's miscellany, The Passionate Pilgrim, appeared, containing twenty poems, five of which are known to be Shakespeare's — two of the Dark Lady sonnets (Sonnets 138 and 144) and three poems included in the play Love's Labour's Lost. Apparently these five poems were printed in Jaggard's miscellany (a collection of writings on various subjects) without Shakespeare's authorization.

Without question, Shakespeare was the most popular playwright of his day, and his dramatic influence is still evident today, but the sonnet form, which was so very popular in Shakespeare's era, quickly lost its appeal. Even before Shakespeare's death in 1616 the sonnet was no longer fashionable, and for two hundred years after his death, there was little interest in either Shakespeare's sonnets, or in the sonnet form itself.

The text of Shakespeare's sonnets generally considered to be definitive is that of the 1609 edition, which was published by Thomas Thorpe, a publisher having less than a professional reputation. Thorpe's edition, titled Shake-speare's Sonnets: Never Before Imprinted, is referred to today as the "Quarto," and is the basis for all modern texts of the sonnets.

The Quarto would have lapsed into obscurity for the remainder of the seventeenth century had it not been for the publication of a second edition of Shakespeare's sonnets, brought out by John Benson in 1640. A pirated edition of the sonnets, Benson's version was not a carefully edited, duplicate copy of the Quarto. Because Benson took several liberties with Shakespeare's text, his volume has been of interest chiefly as the beginning of a long campaign to sanitize Shakespeare. Among other things, Benson rearranged the sonnets into so-called "poems" — groups varying from one to five sonnets in length and to which he added descriptive and unusually inept titles. Still worse, he changed Shakespeare's pronouns: "He's" became "she's" in some sonnets addressed to the young man so as to make the poet speak lovingly to a woman — not to a man.

Benson also interspersed Shakespeare's sonnets with poems written by other people, as well as with other non-sonnet poems written by Shakespeare. This led to much of the subsequent confusion about Shakespeare's order of preference for his sonnets, which appear to tell the story, first, of his adulation of a young man and, later, of his adoration of his "dark lady."

The belief that the first 126 sonnets are addressed to a man and that the rest are addressed to a woman has become the prevailing contemporary view. In addition, a majority of modern critics remain sufficiently satisfied with Thorpe's 1609 ordering of those sonnets addressed to the young man, but most of them have serious reservations about the second group addressed to the woman.

Another controversy surrounding the sonnets is the dedication at the beginning of Thorpe's 1609 edition. Addressed to "Mr. W. H.," the dedication has led to a series of conjectures as to the identity of this person. The two leading candidates are Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton, and William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke.

Because Shakespeare dedicated his long poem "Venus and Adonis" to Southampton, and because the young earl loved poetry and drama and may well have sought out Shakespeare and offered himself as the poet's patron, many critics consider Southampton to be "Mr. W. H."

The other contender for the object of the dedication is William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Shakespeare dedicated the First Folio of his works, published in 1623, to Pembroke and Pembroke's brother Philip. Pembroke was wealthy, notorious for his sexual exploits but averse to marriage, and a patron of literary men. Critics who believe that Mary Fitton, one of Queen Elizabeth's maids of honor, was the Dark Lady of Sonnets 12–54, are particularly convinced that Pembroke is "Mr. W. H.," for Pembroke had an affair with Fitton, who bore him a child out of wedlock; this extramarital affair is considered to parallel too closely the sexual relationship in the sonnets to be mere coincidence.

In addition to their date of composition, their correct ordering, and the object of the dedication, the other controversial issue surrounding the sonnets is the question of whether or not they are autobiographical. While contemporary criticism remains interested in the question of whether or not the sonnets are autobiographical, the sonnets, taken either wholly or individually, are first and foremost a work of literature, to be read and discussed both for their poetic quality and their narrative tale. Their appeal rests not so much in the fact that they may shed some light on Shakespeare's life, nor even that they were written by him; rather, their greatness lies in the richness and the range of subjects found in them.

Overview of Shakespeare's Sonnets

Although Shakespeare's sonnets can be divided into different sections numerous ways, the most apparent division involves Sonnets 1–126, in which the poet strikes up a relationship with a young man, and Sonnets 127–154, which are concerned with the poet's relationship with a woman, variously referred to as the Dark Lady, or as his mistress.

In the first large division, Sonnets 1–126, the poet addresses an alluring young man with whom he has struck up a relationship. In Sonnets 1–17, he tries to convince the handsome young man to marry and beget children so that the youth's incredible beauty will not die when the youth dies. Starting in Sonnet 18, when the youth appears to reject this argument for procreation, the poet glories in the young man's beauty and takes consolation in the fact that his sonnets will preserve the youth's beauty, much like the youth's children would.

By Sonnet 26, perhaps becoming more attached to the young man than he originally intended, the poet feels isolated and alone when the youth is absent. He cannot sleep. Emotionally exhausted, he becomes frustrated by what he sees as the youth's inadequate response to his affection. The estrangement between the poet and the young man continues at least through Sonnet 58 and is marked by the poet's fluctuating emotions for the youth: One moment he is completely dependent on the youth's affections, the next moment he angrily lashes out because his love for the young man is unrequited.

Despondent over the youth's treatment of him, desperately the poet views with pain and sorrow the ultimate corrosion of time, especially in relation to the young man's beauty. He seeks answers to the question of how time can be defeated and youth and beauty preserved. Philosophizing about time preoccupies the poet, who tells the young man that time and immortality cannot be conquered; however, the youth ignores the poet and seeks other friendships, including one with the poet's mistress (Sonnets 40–42) and another with a rival poet (Sonnets 79–87). Expectedly, the relationship between the youth and this new poet greatly upsets the sonnets' poet, who lashes out at the young man and then retreats into despondency, in part because he feels his poetry is lackluster and cannot compete with the new forms of poetry being written about the youth. Again, the poet fluctuates between confidence in his poetic abilities and resignation about losing the youth's friendship.

Philosophically examining what love for another person entails, the poet urges his friend not to postpone his desertion of the poet — if that is what the youth is ultimately planning. Break off the relationship now, begs the poet, who is prepared to accept whatever fate holds. Ironically, the more the youth rejects the poet, the greater is the poet's affection for and devotion to him. No matter how vicious the young man is to the poet, the poet does not — emotionally can not — sever the relationship. He masochistically accepts the youth's physical and emotional absence.

Finally, after enduring what he feels is much emotional abuse by the youth, the poet stops begging for his friend's affection. But then, almost unbelievably, the poet begins to think that his newfound silence toward the youth is the reason for the youth's treating him as poorly as he does. The poet blames himself for any wrong the young man has done him and apologizes for his own treatment of his friend. This first major division of sonnets ends with the poet pitiably lamenting his own role in the dissolution of his relationship with the youth.

The second, shorter grouping of Sonnets 127–154 involves the poet's sexual relationship with the Dark Lady, a married woman with whom he becomes infatuated. Similar to his friendship with the young man, this relationship fluctuates between feelings of love, hate, jealousy, and contempt. Also similar is the poet's unhealthy dependency on the woman's affections. When, after the poet and the woman begin their affair, she accepts additional lovers, at first the poet is outraged. However, as he did with the youth, the poet ultimately blames himself for the Dark Lady's abandoning him. The sonnets end with the poet admitting that he is a slave to his passion for the woman and can do nothing to curb his lust. Shakespeare turns the traditional idea of a romantic sonnet on its head in this series, however, as his Dark Lady is not an alluring beauty and does not exhibit the perfection that lovers typically ascribe to their beloved.

Quotes are taken from the Pelican Shakespeare edition of The Sonnets, published by Penguin books.

Next Sonnet 1

has been added to your

Reading List!

Removing #book# from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title.

Are you sure you want to remove #bookConfirmation# and any corresponding bookmarks?


Shakespearean Sonnet Essays

Analyzing shakespearean sonnet.

Analyzing Shakespearean Sonnet William Shakespeare's sonnet, That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold emphasizes that death is upon us stressing on the importance of love. By using metaphors he relates death to nature. Using symbolism of autumn leaves, twilight and glowing fire evolving to one conclusion awaiting death. By using Iambic meter he is showing a rising effect to get to the climax of the sonnet. Shakespeare shows how his character is weighed down by torment that his life is coming

The Shakespearean Sonnet

are timeless and explain his broad appeal even today. He is highly regarded for his love sonnets which convey an unchanging attitude and consummate romantic imagery that will always exist in the world as long as there are people. He has created words, phrases, and clichés that have become so intrinsic in English language, that many people do not even know they are actually quoting him. Shakespeare's Sonnet "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" is a perfect example of this and one of the most

Shakespearean Sonnet: Separated

To be Graded Poem 1 (Shakespearean sonnet) : Separated I did everything, but you moved away. Oh, how glum I feel, that I have lost you. What have I done to stop you from being gay. Like how things parted when a strong wind blew. No matter how I change my attitude, Things will never alter to be the same. I have never really showed gratitude. All I ever did, was to push the blame. Love is meant to be something very real. Oh my, how very devastated you were. Memories shattered, like a broken pearl

Analyzing Shakespearean Sonnets

Shakespearean sonnets appear to be arranged in three parts; the first third of the sonnets appear to be directing the recipient of the poems to reproduce to endure his legacy, the second third highlight the ability of the immortalizing abilities of the sonnets and with the latter third there is the appearance of a dark haired lady - possibly a tongue-and-cheek humor of the Petrarchan sonnet. Sonnet 147, as one of the latter third sonnets, appears to be directed to the dark haired lady; as a anti-love

The Two Types of Sonnet: Shakespearean and Petrachen

The Two Types of Sonnet: Shakespearean and Petrachen A sonnet is usually a poem with fourteen lines, which deals with one idea or emotion. The rhyming pattern is usually ABBA ABBA ABBA and then a rhyming couplet at CC. It has ten syllables per line. There are two main types of sonnet Shakespearean (English) and Petrachen (Italian). Sonnet means ‘Little song’ in Italian. Sonnets originated in Italy during the Italian renaissance by a man called Pertrach however they only became popular in England

Comparison: Petrarchan and Shakespearean Sonnets

Through the form of sonnet, Shakespeare and Petrarch both address the subject of love, yet there are key contrasts in their style, structure, and in the manner, each approaches their subjects. Moreover, in "Sonnet 130," Shakespeare, in fact, parodies Petrarch's style and thoughts as his storyteller describes his mistress, whose "eyes are in no way as the sun" (Shakespeare 1918). Through his English poem, Shakespeare seems to mock the exaggerated descriptions expanded throughout Petrarch’s work by

Comparing Shakespearean Sonnet And 500 Short Story

The Shakespearean sonnet and 500 Short Story have many similarities and differences which are shown in the following ways. The 500 Word Short Story was an essay that could not contain more than 500 words. The essay had to be an original piece of fiction or nonfiction which which could be written from any point of view. The Shakespearean sonnet was a poem that consisted of 14 lines and had an end rhyme scheme for every other line. It also had to consist of 10 syllables per line. While writing The

Comparing the Sonnets of Petrarchan and Shakespearean in Style, Structure and Subject Approach

Shakespeare and Petrarch, two poets popular for their contributions on the issue of love, both tackle the subject of their work through sonnet, yet there are key contrasts in their style, structure, and in the way, each approaches their subjects. Moreover, it is clear that in "Sonnet 130," Shakespeare in fact parodies Petrarch's style and thoughts as his storyteller describes his mistress, whose "eyes are in no way as the sun" (Shakespeare 1918). Shakespeare seems, by all accounts, to mock the exaggerated

With it’s tight structure, poetry can accommodate great passion. Do

by the poet. ‘Marged’ by Gillian Clarke is a Shakespearean sonnet, with three quatrains and a couplet at the end, however the poet has altered the form to change the style of the poem. For example the lines do not have ten syllables as a normal sonnet but vary in length. Also there is only a half-rhyme scheme with words such as ‘bed’ and ‘died’ in the first quatrain on alternate lines. It could be argued that the tight structure of the sonnet restrains the passion felt because of the syllables

William Shakespeare Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? 		a Thou art more lovely and more temperate:						b Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,					a And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:					b Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines					c And often is his gold complexion dimmed,						d And every fair from fair sometimes declines,					c	 By chance, or

Love and Hate in Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part

"Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part." "There's a thin line between love and hate" describes the theme of Michael Drayton's sonnet "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part." Unlike most love sonnets, which talk about the many intricacies of love, Drayton's poem discusses the end of love and its possible recovery. This Shakespearean sonnet consisting of 14 lines can be subdivided into 3 parts. In each part, the poet uses a different voice. He uses 1st person in the first part

sonnet thing

There are many ways in which love can be expressed and described. In the sonnets “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” by Edna St. Vincent Millay and “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” by William Shakespeare the authors both have epiphanies about love. Millay's Italian sonnet conveys the epiphany effectively through her use of tone and figurative language when contrasted to Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. Shakespeare's ideas and thoughts about love are much different than those of

The Sonnet Genre Combining with Figurative Language

The Sonnet Genre Combining with Figurative Language Compare how the conventions of the sonnet genre combine with figurative language to create meaning in at least two texts. Originating in Italy, the sonnet was established by Petrarch in the 14th century as a major form of love poetry, and came to be adopted in England in the 16th century (Oxford Literary terms). Overtime there have been different types of sonnets written, for example the Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet, the English (Shakespearean)

Compare And Contrast John Keats And Anthem For Doomed Youth

of the poet. I find that the sonnets “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be”, by John Keats, and “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, by Wilfred Owen, make efficient use of their formal elements to display the depth of the situation of their poems. Keats uses a Shakespearean sonnet structure to organize his thoughts being displayed throughout the poem and to construct them around the speaker’s fear that is the central focus of the sonnet. Owen’s sonnet is a Petrarchan sonnet, although it has a rhyme scheme

Analyzing Sonnet 18

you still probably know this famous poem. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is one of the most well-known poems of all time. Time and time again this piece of art has influenced contemporary pieces. Some examples of this would be; the song “Sonnet 18” by Pink Floyd, a novel titled The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates, and a famous essay “Rough Winds Do Shake” written by Maeve Landman. Now this doesn’t not include the endless, countless list of times when Sonnet 18 has been quoted throughout history,

Pre –1914 Poetry Comparison on Love

poems in detail and mention two in the passing to find similarities and differences. The poems and sonnets I have chosen to compare are ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning and Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare The two Robert Browning poems, ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ and ‘My Last Duchess’ were written in the infamous Victorian Era whereas the two Shakespearean Sonnets were written in the Elizabethan Era. The styles of the poems differ in accordance to the difference

Compare And Contrast Shakespeare's Sonnet 75 And Sonnet 116

William Shakespeare’s sonnets are renowned as some of the greatest poetry ever written. He wrote a total of 154 sonnets that were published in 1609. Shakespearean sonnets consider similar themes including love, beauty, and the passing of time. In particular, William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 75 and Sonnet 116 portray the theme of love through aspects of their form and their display of metaphors and similes. While both of these sonnets depict the theme of love, they have significantly contrasting ideas

Harlem Dancer Poem Analysis

Sonnets is a type of poetry that originated in Italy. There are many different types of sonnets, such as the Shakespearean sonnet, Petrarchan sonnet, and the Spenserian sonnet. Despite their differences, these sonnets share some similarities. “Harlem Dancer” by Claude McKay and “In an Artist’s Studio” by Christina Rossetti share many similarities and differences such as the form, the portrayal of women, and the way the woman is objectified. McKay’s poem, “Harlem Dancer” is a sonnet, as well as Rossetti’s

Sonnet 29 Diction

well-known for his multiple works of literature. These famous works include his many sonnets that consist of three quatrains and a concluding couplet. Specifically, in “Sonnet 29,” the speaker is disgruntled with his life and lusts for a more favorable one. However, although the speaker does not embody all the characteristics he would like, when he thinks of a loved one, life becomes significant again. In his “Sonnet 29,” Shakespeare integrates various literary devices that highlight that happiness

Shakespeare Response Analysis

A Response to Shakespeare’s Sonnets William Shakespeare is a one of the most famous writers in history. Everyone with a high school education has probably read a Shakespearean play. This was where I first exposed to work by Shakespeare. I will be discussing ten of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which explore his feelings for an unidentified addressee. When reading a poem about love written by a man, typically you’d think that it was written about a woman. When reading Sonnet I, I made the assumption that

Plagiarism checker

Writing help, paraphrasing tool, analysis of shakespeare’s sonnets.

This essay will delve into the rich tapestry of themes and literary techniques present in Shakespeare’s sonnets. It will explore the intricacies of his language, the depth of emotion, and the frequent exploration of themes such as love, beauty, time, and mortality. Each sonnet’s structure, rhyme scheme, and metrical pattern will be analyzed to understand how Shakespeare conveyed profound ideas through his poetic form. Additionally, the essay will discuss the historical context of these sonnets and their significance in the canon of English literature, emphasizing their enduring impact on poetry and how they continue to resonate with modern audiences. At PapersOwl, you’ll also come across free essay samples that pertain to Analysis.

  • Analysis , Poetry , Sonnet , William Shakespeare

How it works

William Shakespeare’s Sonnets is a collection of 154 poems that are delicate yet powerful in their ever-intimate tone. It is unknown whether Shakespeare wrote the collection of sonnets in an auto-biographical form or if they are merely fiction. Regardless of the intention, it cannot be denied that the collection of sonnets takes on a tone of intimacy that reflects upon a relationship between power and love. Stand alone, each sonnet can be read separately, but are found to be linked thematically. However, if you start reading them in order, it becomes apparent that the most beautiful and fulfilling way to experience the sonnets is by reading all 154 in sequence.

The sonnets explicitly show his adoration for the young man, and the Procreation poems speak of the Youth’s extreme beauty and urge him to marry and beget children, so his beauty can be passed on. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is a Fair Youth poem. There is a repeated wish to immortalize the Youth’s beauty in poetry. You could read these sonnets as expressions of friendship, sure, or as an older man wishing to guide and encourage a younger man he cares for, but through historical context it is also entirely acceptable to interpret these as Shakespeare expressing strong romantic feelings towards the Youth. No matter where you sit in the debate it is interesting that Summer’s Day is considered one of the most famous romantic poems of all time and that it is assumed to be about a woman when in actuality it is written to a man.

Poetry in itself is always subjective. No two people can possibly feel every ounce of same emotion when experiencing words others have written. Poetry is there to evoke emotion and create feeling. Shakespeare’s purpose for these sonnets are a mystery, which leaves little room for realistic knowledge of them but opens a world of imagination and interpretation. However, we don’t need to know his intentions. We should accept that the author-character that emerges from the sonnets is not created for our convenience. It is not necessarily William Shakespeare, the man; it is William Shakespeare, the poet. While reading the sonnets, I was overcome with a multilayered experience. It is easy to pick out themes such as power, love, beauty, morality, and sensuality, but actually drowning emotionally into every word is a journey all on its own. Too often we search for the meaning of the writing from the authors perspective. The beauty in Shakespeare’s Sonnets is there is no reason to search for any meaning outside of our own interpretation of how it relates to our self. How beautiful is it to lose yourself in something for nothing more than yourself?

I don’t pretend to know the real, true meaning of any of the sonnets. Great poems are great because of the different interpretative possibilities they offer: they’re expansive rather than constricting. In other words, there is no ‘real meaning’. I’m not certain that any one sonnet is more significant than another. They are all exquisite, ugly, simple, and complex, depending on how they reach you.

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay

Cite this page.

Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets. (2021, Nov 30). Retrieved from

"Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets." , 30 Nov 2021, (2021). Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2 Dec. 2023]

"Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets.", Nov 30, 2021. Accessed December 2, 2023.

"Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets," , 30-Nov-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 2-Dec-2023] (2021). Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2-Dec-2023]

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Make sure your essay is plagiarism-free or hire a writer to get a unique paper crafted to your needs.

Plagiarized Text

Leave your email and we will send a sample to you., not finding what you need, search for essay samples now.

essay about william shakespeare sonnet

Having doubts about how to write your paper correctly?

Our writers will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Please check your inbox.

Don't use plagiarized sources

Where do you want us to send this sample, attention this is just a sample..

You can order an original essay written according to your instructions.

Trusted by over 1 million students worldwide

1. Tell Us Your Requirements

2. Pick your perfect writer

3. Get Your Paper and Pay

Hi! I'm Amy, your personal assistant!

Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert.

short deadlines

100% Plagiarism-Free

Certified writers


  1. Essay on William Shakespeare

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  2. Sonnet 29 By William Shakespeare Summary, Analysis And Solved Questions

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  3. Mrs. Davis' Sassy Classroom: Shakespeare Sonnet #130

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  4. Shakespeare Sonnet 129 Free Essay Example

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  5. Essay on William Shakespeare

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet

  6. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 Analysis (Detailed and Illustrated)

    essay about william shakespeare sonnet


  1. Shakespeare

  2. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98

  3. Shakespeare's Sonnets Lecture 1

  4. SONNET 116 by William Shakespeare|| ISC CLASS 11

  5. William Shakespeare |ESSAY William Shakespeare |Shortnote on William Shakespeare English Literature

  6. Sonnet 130


  1. How Many Plays and Sonnets Did Shakespeare Write?

    Most scholars accept that William Shakespeare wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets. Additionally, he wrote four longer poems. Though he may have written other plays, they are lost to history.

  2. What Did William Shakespeare Write?

    William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, as well as narrative poems and a collection of sonnets, during the English Renaissance period. Shakespeare’s plays fall under three genres: tragedy, comedy and history.

  3. What Is the Tone of “Sonnet 18”?

    The tone of William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” is an endearing, deep devotion for a lover. The speaker in the poem emphasizes his adoration of his lover’s lasting beauty that will never fade like beauty found in nature. The lover will live o...

  4. The Shakespearean Sonnet Essay

    “Sonnet 116” written by William Shakespeare is focusing on the strength and true power of love. Love is a feeling that sustainable to alterations

  5. Short Essay on Shakespeare`s "Sonnet 18"

    In his sonnet “18” William Shakespeare illustrates the beauty of the young man, who will be remembered forever because of this poem. Details. Title: Short Essay

  6. Essay on The Sonnet

    A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines that rhyme in a particular pattern. William Shakespeare's sonnets were the only non-dramatic poetry that he

  7. Kenneth J. Larsen Essays on Shakespeare's Sonnets

    By. W. Shakespeare. (The majority of the volume's poems are not by Shakespeare.) Page 4. Larsen:

  8. The Brilliance of Shakespeare's Sonnets Essay

    William Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the most significant individuals who has managed to shape the carcass of modern culture. Little

  9. About Shakespeare's Sonnets

    Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets A sonnet is a 14-line poem that rhymes in a particular pattern. In Shakespeare's sonnets, the rhyme pattern is abab

  10. Shakespearean Sonnet Essays

    Free Essays from 123 Help Me | Analyzing Shakespearean Sonnet William Shakespeare's sonnet, That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold emphasizes that death.

  11. Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnets

    Essay Example: William Shakespeare's Sonnets is a collection of 154 poems that are delicate yet powerful in their ever-intimate tone.

  12. Analysis of Shakespear's Sonnets

    William Shakespeare is very well known around the world for being one of the best playwrights in the English literature and in the whole

  13. Shakespeare's Sonnets Free Essay Example

    Essay Sample: How many of us understand William Shakespeare's Poetry? Shakespeare uses complex figurative language along with metaphors and

  14. Sonnet Essays & Research Papers

    Sonnet 18: Critical Analysis Essay · Sonnet Literary Criticism Poetry. Sonnet 18 was written by William Shakespeare, that articulates and accentuates the