The Influence of Shakespeare's Sonnets

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Introduction: The year 1609 has been an important year in the history of English literature, though historically it considers being a year of no great consequence in the World. English literature marked the year with great importance as “Shakespeare’s Sonnet” was first published on that year. Poetry lovers, therefore, consider the year for the inception of an incomparable series of poems that has no equal in world literature. For the last five hundred years or more the sonnet sequence remains as one of the mostly talked and debated sonnets in the Western literature. Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets tell the story, first, of his adulation of a young man and, later, of his adoration of his “dark lady”. Although Shakespeare’s sonnets can be divided into different sections in various ways, the most popular and 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, many times referred to as the Dark Lady, or as his mistress. The 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 l... ... middle of paper ... ...tly repeats a pattern. He is well aware of Petrarchan sonnet conventions. Shakespeare does not present loved one as virtuous or courtly, and also does not show love for a beautiful lady as represented in Petrarch’s sonnets. The cruel loved one in maximum of his sonnet is a young man, not a woman, and the ‘Dark Lady’ of sonnets 127-154 is neither virtuous nor ideally beautiful. Shakespeare even criticizes the traditional notion of a beautiful and virtuous lady. “In the old age black was not counted fair Or, if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;” (Sonnet 127) English sonnets have the same fourteen lines obligation like Italian form, which are written in iambic pentameter with a set rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. The English sonnet form also known as Shakespearean sonnet form and another popular English poet Spenser wrote sonnets in abab bcbc cdcd ee rhyme scheme.
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