Elizabethan Poetry William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare • William Shakespeare, also known as the "Bard of Avon, " is often called England's national poet and considered the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare's works are known throughout the world, but his personal life is shrouded in mystery. • The Sonnets are Shakespeare's most popular works, and a few of them, such as Sonnet 18 • Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, likely composed over an extended period from 1592 to 1598. • In 1609 Thomas Thorpe published Shakespeare's sonnets, no doubt without the author's permission, in quarto format, along with Shakespeare's long poem, The Passionate Pilgrim. The sonnets were dedicated to a W. H. , whose identity remains a mystery, although William Herbert, the Earl of Pembroke, is frequently suggested because Shakespeare's First Folio (1623) was also dedicated to him.
William Shakespeare • The majority of the sonnets (1 -126) are addressed to a young man, with whom the poet has an intense romantic relationship. The poet spends the first seventeen sonnets trying to convince the young man to marry and have children; beautiful children that will look just like their father, ensuring his immortality. Many of the remaining sonnets in the young man sequence focus on the power of poetry and pure love to defeat death and "all oblivious enmity“ • The final sonnets (127 -154) are addressed to a promiscuous and scheming woman known to modern readers as the dark lady. Both the poet and his young man have become obsessed with the raven-haired temptress in these sonnets, and the poet's whole being is at odds with his insatiable "sickly appetite". The tone is distressing, with language of sensual feasting, uncontrollable urges, and sinful consumption. Source: Shakespearonline. com
Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet 18 Brief Summary and Paraphrasing The speaker celebrates the beauty of his friend by comparing it to the natural beauty of summer. Then, he draws a comparison between the two citing natural undoubtful negative facts. While the beauty of summer fades into oblivion, the beauty of his friend will be eternalized since it will last forever in the human memory by the virtue of the poet’s poetry. As long as there is breathe on the earth, the friend of the poet will be served immortal life as it is metaphorized in immortal lines. Form: Shakespearian sonnet (three quatrains and a concluding couplet) Meter: iambic pentameter Rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg Themes Sincere love Poetry and immortality Self-confidence and bragging
Sonnet 18: Language and Style Metonymy eye of heaven = metonymy of sun or summer time Eternal lines= metonymy of his poetry Hyperbole Shall I compare thee to a summer's day= comparing a young man to nature Anthropomorphism Rough winds do shake And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; Rhetorical question Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Rhetorical question is asked for the answer, but for the effect. It is a device used to persuade a reader and influence his point of view. Visual imagery And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; Alliteration And every fair from fair sometime declines Repetition So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Sonnet 18: Language and Style Grafting metaphor When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. Grafting is a technique used to join parts from two plants with cords so that they grow as one. The young man will be grafted to time, and hence, become one by the cords of the poet, which are symbolically represented as his poetry. Juxtaposition The speaker juxtaposes the beauty of his friend and the beauty of summer; he puts them side by side.
Sonnet 18: Questions 1. What is the speaker’s dilemma in this poem? What is his solution to overcome this dilemma? 2. How can you draw a connection between this poem and the dominant culture of the Elizabethan age? 3. The speaker indicates two factors that can cause the loss of quality of all beautiful objects. What are they? 4. Is the speaker romantic in this poem? 5. What is the significance of commencing the poem with a rhetorical question? 6. To what extent do you think that the speaker is rather contrasting than comparing? 7. What is the type of tone in the couplet? 8. How can you contrast the image of the speaker’s friend with the image of time as represented in this poem?
Sonnet 18: Questions 8. How can you contrast the image of the speaker’s friend and the image of summer as represented in this poem? The beauty of summer The beauty of his friend Evanescent, short-lived, and Ever lasting ephemeral Fluctuating and changeable Consistent Ruthless and harsh Pacific and amiable
Sonnet 65 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea But sad mortality o’er-sways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower? O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays? O fearful meditation! where, alack, Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back? Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid? O, none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Sonnet 65 Brief Summary and Paraphrasing The speaker is disturbed over the enormous destructive ravages of time which make every thing , animate or inanimate, subject to mortality. Neither the least vulnerable natural components not the delicate ones can evade the ravages of time whose destruction is comprehensive. However, the couplet reveals the poet’s ingenious solution; it is poetry that can vanquish time and guarantee the speaker’s triumph. Form: Shakespearian sonnet (three quatrains and a concluding couplet) Meter: iambic pentameter Rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg Themes Mutability Immortality through literature
Sonnet 65: Questions Metonymy - summer’s honey/ best jewel = metonymy of his friend - this miracle = the poet’s poetry Metaphor -Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days, -How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea Anthropomorphism batt’ring days How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea time’s chest Consonance Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea Paradox That in black ink my love may still shine bright. Alliteration Nor gates of steel so strong Repetition Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea Rhetorical question - Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Sonnet 65: Questions 1 - Compare and contrast between Shakespeare’s sonnet 65 and sonnet 18. 2 - In which line does the Volta take place? 3 - In the first line of the poem, the word “nor” is repeated three time. What effect does this repetition achieve? 4 - Sonnet 65 is highly metaphoric and symbolic. To what extent do you agree? 5 - Despite of the speaker’s shift from the inside to the outside in line 9, we can not assume that the poet uses juxtaposition technique in this line. Why? 6 - Explain the paradox in line 10 and in line 14. 7 - To what extent do you think that Shakespeare dedicates this poem to celebrate his poetry rather than his friend?
Sonnet 65: Questions 8 - What kind of tone is there in the couplet? 9 - Explain how the main argument in this poem is introduced, developed, and resolved? 10 - This poem is characterized by using rhetorical questions many times. What effect does this use achieve? 11 - What elements of power and elements of softness does this poem include? 12 - Explain the imagery in line 5 & 6. How this imagery is appealing to you as a Gazan citizen? 13 - What is the assumption with which the poem starts? 14 What kind of rhyme does the poet use in the couplet?