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The Genius of William Shakespeare

analytical Essay
1148 words
1148 words
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William Shakespeare uses an enigmatic approach in his 20th sonnet. The sonnet both recognizes the author’s love and admiration for his subject and displays the boy’s prowess. In the final lines the poet reveals either his potentially romantic interest or platonic infatuation. The poem employs considerable figurative language and multiple interpretations for lines which add to the ambiguous nature of the piece. Shakespeare’s syntax and organization of his lines helps assert the importance of specific phrases in the work. By placing “hast thou” (2) on the beginning of the second line, the author changes the emphasis of the line that precedes it: “A woman’s face, with nature’s own hand painted” (1). Choosing not to start with a direct address to his subject, Shakespeare introduces a comparison before revealing the subject. This syntactic choice highlights the “woman’s face” (1) rather than the subject and allows “Hast thou”(2) to act as a transition from the feminine analogy to the masculine subject. The word order of the first line emphasizes the “woman’s face” (1), with the personification of nature following. I interpret this personification of nature in two ways, the first refers to the subject’s natural beauty without any makeup, while the second implies that the nature goddess painted the man’s face herself. Because of the word order and choice, the poem initiates an air of ambiguity that continues throughout the sonnet. At the end of the first quatrain, the writer uses enjambment in order to intensify and visually replicate a phrase. Shakespeare’s use of enjambment regarding a woman’s heart emphasizes the end of the line: “a woman’s gentle heart, but not yet acquainted / With shifting change” (ll. 3-4) accentuates the ... ... middle of paper ... ...akespeare’s diction allows the seventh line multiple interpretations. Regardless, this line acts as a statement of the young man’s power, whether its be his authoritative power or his ability to change the color of the faces around him. The use of end rhyme heavily emphasizes the power that this young man has over people. By linking “gazeth” (6) and “amazeth” (9) Shakespeare connects the powerful gaze that the young man possesses to the impact that such a stare causes. By exaggerating the extent of the young man’s effect on others Shakespeare makes his subject seem all the more alluring, blending delicate qualities with commanding ones. This poem accomplishes a considerable feat, conveying the emotions of the author without explicitly stating his inner motivation. Clearly the author adores this young man, but where this admiratiation stems from remains hidden.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses an enigmatic approach in his 20th sonnet. the poem employs considerable figurative language and multiple interpretations for lines which add to the ambiguity of the piece.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's syntax and organization of his lines helps assert the importance of specific phrases in the work.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's use of enjambment regarding a woman’s heart emphasizes the end of the line. the lack of punctuation creates shift in the poem.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare deviates from iambic pentameter to stress key elements of the poem.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses assonance, consonance and alliteration to highlight the closeness between the young man and women.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's comparisons endow the young man with feminine qualities and emphasizes his view on women.
  • Analyzes how the use of hyperbole and end rhyme reinforce 's admiration for the man.
  • Analyzes how the poem conveys the emotions of without explicitly stating his inner motivation.
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