Essay about Shakespeare's Sonnet 30 and Tennyson's In Memoriam

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Loss has been experienced over centuries and many poets have written on the subject. William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam are two poems from different eras that express the idea of loss. Both were written after the loss of a close male friend, and both are only one poem from a series of poems. Shakespeare lived in England where he was born in 1564 and died in 1616 and Tennyson also lived in England where he was born in 1809 and died in 1892, the poems being written in 1609 and between 1833 and 1850 respectively. Whilst the poet’s historical and cultural contexts are different, and there are differences in structure and poetic devices used in the two poems, there are also similarities in the expression and…show more content…
Also during this era, many people were questioning their religious beliefs. In Memoriam has been said to reflect the Victorian feelings. (Victorian Contexts, class notes: page 102) This era influenced Tennyson along with his poor mental state, it also mediates on the Victorians’ deepest concerns about religious doubt, such as death, creation and evolution. In Memoriam touches on many intellectual issues and the poet searches for the meaning of life and death while trying to come to terms with his sense of loss. (Victorian Context, class notes: page 110) In Memoriam reflects the struggle to reconcile traditional religious beliefs and faith which was a popular Victorian aspect of literature at the time. The poem shows the development over three years of Tennyson’s acceptance and understanding of his friend’s death. (Robson, W., 2013) With this cultural context, In Memoriam could be seen to be written in a time of advancement and hope, however this contradicts the theme of loss of the poem.

The purpose of both poems is similar, both are about the loss of a male friend. The loss in Sonnet 30 is about the loss of a possible lover and the speaker is grieving this love. An example of the friendship is “And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste” this can be translated that he his sorrowful that

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