Shakespearean sonnetsThe theme of the idealised woman comes from Dante and Petrarca, who thinks to the beauty as an angelic beauty, which inspires a spiritual love. For this reason the woman is always blond and gentle (cortese), even if she is not so in the realty. Platon in fact said that the appearance is the mirror of the substance and in that period he was rediscovered, as others Greek and Latin authors, who had given the immortality to their love thanks to their poems and their art (as Shakespeare wants to do).
Shakespeare, if he didn't publish any comedy, wrote 154 sonnets, without title, he published his sequence (raccolta) and he dedicated it to his friend and patron Lord (Earl of)Southampton.
His sonnets' sequence is divided in 2 parts:
- from 1 to 127: they deal with (trattare) the "Fair youth", where love is idealised and the lover is like an angel, full of qualities, as Laura;
- from 128 to 154: they deal with the "Dark Lady", where love is described in terms of passion and the poet highlights (sottolinea) his fears and faults.
Obviously they express two different way of looking at love. The meaning of fair (it sum up the neoplatonica idea, where appearance corresponds to morality): - Blonde = appearance
- Honest, right = moral qualities.
SONNET XVIII = Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
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 dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed;
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.
Rhyme: A B A B; C D C D; E F E F (3 quatrains); G G (a couplet)
It's a Shakespearean sonnet, pentameter (5 feet).
The tone is self-assured, because he has no doubts. Dramatic sonnet, it's a sort of dialogue with a silent listener.
Dedicated to a YOUNG MAN (maybe his patron Southampton)
1. Comparison between his love and a summer's day
2. Go on with comparison. Sometimes the summer is not so nice because it's too hot or windy and also all natural things have to decline, but not love, because it could be alive so long as men can breathe.
line 2: "more…more" = alliteration
line 3: "do darling" = alliteration
line 5: "the eye of heaven" = metaphor to talk about the sun
line 6: personification of the sun
line 7: "fair from fair" = alliteration
line 9: "but" there is the turning point, "is love is eternal"
line 10-11: anaphora of "nor"
line 11: personification of the death
line 13-14: anaphora of "so long"
line 14: "long lives, gives life" = chiasmus
SONNET CXXX = My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, freads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
It's dedicated to the "Dark lady"
Rhyme: A B A B; C D C D; E F E F; G G
It's a Shakespearean sonnet. Each quatrain is self-contained. It's not dramatic, but it's self-confident.
more red: redder
dun: not pale
1. of 3 quatrains = description of the lady: she's ordinary, she is not very pretty. His mind is speaking
2. of the couplet = yet (turning point). She is not so beautiful, but for the author she is superior to the others. His heart is speaking.
A break with traditions: it's rare and original to find such a description of a woman. Anti-Petrarca's canons.
line 1: "My mistress" = alliteration
line 3-4: anaphora of "if"
line 13: turning point with "yet"
SONNET 116 = Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh no, it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Rhyme: A B A B; C D C D; E F E F; G G
It's a Shakespearean sonnet. It's dedicated to the "fair youth".
Quatrains are self-contained and well-balanced (what love is and is not). It's not a dramatic sonnet. He emphasises the love.
line 1: lascia che niente ostacoli il matrimonio tra due persone che si amano
line 4: agree to go away if someone abandons the relationship
bending sickle's compass: entrino nel raggio della falce
bears: goes on
the edge of doom: until the end of the world
1. First quatrain = abstract words, literary language. He explains what love is not.
First two lines there is the ceremony of the marriage "Let me…love"
2. Second quatrain = definition of love. Concrete words and figurative language (lighthouse, star). Love can't be measured like a star.
3. Third quatrain = what love is not: "fool of time"
4. Couplet: what he has said is absolutely true and he reinforces the theme of the sonnet. Epigrammatic conclusion (very effective)
Love's constant = real love never changes and it's eternal.
line 1: "me marriage minds" = alliteration
line 4: "remover…remove" = alliteration
line 5: metaphor: love stands like a lighthouse
line 7: "star" = metaphor, It's not measurable
3° quatrain: personification of time
line 14: "no nor" = alliteration
SONNET = Nor marble nor the gilded monuments
Nor the marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wears this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
Rhyme: A B A B; C D C D; E F E F; G G
It's a Shakespearean sonnet. Stress pattern = a iambic
It's a dramatic sonnet, he talks directly to the lover. Quatrains are self-contained.
unswept: non spazzata
root out: sradicano
pace: go on
find room: it will find a place
ending doom: day of Judgement
1. First quatrain = he's comparing his sonnet to tombs of famous people. Rhyme is more powerful than tombs
2. Second quatrain = the eternity of the poem won't be destroyed by war.
3. Third quatrain = the rhyme will be more powerful than death and oblivion.
4. Couplet = reinforcement of the theme of the poem
Similar to sonnet XVIII so it belongs to the "fair youth" part of the sequence. It's similar also to a poem of Horace "Exegi monumentum ere perennium"
line 3: "shall shine" = alliteration
line 5: "shall statues" = alliteration
2° quatrain: personification of war