William Shakespeare 's Poetry Of Sonnets

1693 WordsApr 11, 20177 Pages
Of Shakespeare’s collection of sonnets, a vast majority have been commonly established to be both written about and voiced to a beautiful, aristocratic young man often labeled the ‘Fair Youth’ — a seemingly polar opposite to the almost unsavoury, lower-class ‘Dark Lady’ assessed as the featured object of desire within the last 25 sonnets. Although some scholars such as Nelles (2009) neglect the prospect of two separate, distinct and truly gendered narratives, this concept must be considered in reference to the forms of love found between the two dichotomized narratives. While the love felt towards the Fair Youth seems to be more distanced and inactive compared to that within the explicitly physical Dark Lady sonnets, the frequent blurring…show more content…
In ‘Sonnet 18’, the speaker proclaims that his lover is “more lovely and more temperate” (Shakespeare, 1608a, l. 2) than a summer’s day, as “every fair from fair sometime declines, / By … nature’s changing course, untrim’d” (l. 7-8). ‘Sonnet 20’ paints nature as a woman, giving ‘her’ female pronouns in line 10, “till nature as she wrought thee fell a doting” (italics mine, Shakespeare, 1608b). Thus, using ‘Sonnet 20’ as a frame for comparison, the true, underlying ‘message’ of ‘Sonnet 18’ could be read that the male lover is more ‘lovely’ than the comparison of nature — a wild, female-gendered concept — allows. Furthering this is the useage of male pronouns when describing heaven, as ‘Sonnet 18’ continues: “hot the eye of heaven shines, / And often is his gold complexion dim 'd” (italics mine, Shakespeare, 1608a). Together, these help to gender ‘Sonnet 116’, in which the speaker denotes their love as “an ever-fixed mark” (Shakespeare, 1608c, l. 5) that “is the star to every wandering bark” (l. 7): a nautical reference that infers that love is much like how north star is to sailors or, when read with the aforementioned gendered constructs, how a man (‘the star’ representing heaven, a male-gendered concept) is to a woman (the turbulent ocean on which the sailors ‘wander’: an object of nature). With this, it is clear that gendering does exist even in the so-called
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