Shakespeare's sonnets

by William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare (1564–1616) wrote sonnets on a variety of themes. When discussing or referring to Shakespeare's sonnets, it is almost always a reference to the 154 sonnets that were first published all together in a quarto in 1609. However, there are six additional sonnets that Shakespeare wrote and included in the plays Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and Love's Labour's Lost. There is also a partial sonnet found in the play Edward III.
Shakespeare's sonnets are considered a continuation of the sonnet tradition that swept through the Renaissance from Petrarch in 14th-century Italy and was finally introduced in 16th-century England by Thomas Wyatt and was given its rhyming metre and division into quatrains by Henry Howard. With few exceptions, Shakespeare’s sonnets observe the stylistic form of the English sonnet—the rhyme scheme, the 14 lines, and the metre. But Shakespeare’s sonnets introduce such significant departures of content that they seem to be rebelling against well-worn 200-year-old traditions.
Instead of expressing worshipful love for an almost goddess-like yet unobtainable female love-object, as Petrarch, Dante, and Philip Sidney had done, Shakespeare introduces a young man. He also introduces the Dark Lady, who is no goddess. Shakespeare explores themes such as lust, homoeroticism, misogyny, infidelity, and acrimony in ways that may challenge, but which also open new terrain for the sonnet form.
Excerpted from Shakespeare's sonnets on Wikipedia.

person AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
language CountryEngland
api GenrePoetry, Renaissance poetry
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description ScansGoogle-digitized
headphones AudioThanks to Librivox | Internet Archive:
Reader: Elizabeth Klett
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