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William Shakespeare’s sonnets belong to the wonderful examples of lyrical poetry of the Renaissance. Shakespeare created 154 sonnets, and most of them are devoted to the love theme. But there are a lot of sonnets which unfold ideas of friendship, philosophical reflections, and art.
Shakespeare’s works fascinate the readers with different styles of writing. He utilizes imagery in order to convey feelings and create bright images in the reader’s mind. Sonnet 18 is a perfect example of comparison between the season of summer and the speaker's lover. Shakespeare extols his love without bragging: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate” (Shakespeare, 1609, 1-2). In some sonnets Shakespeare protests against the tradition of idealized woman’s image. Traditionally, sonnets present women like the most glorious creatures in the world. Shakespeare makes fun of the convention by contrasting an idealized woman with a real woman. In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare denies the clichéd concepts of beauty. “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red” (Shakespeare, 1609, 1-2). Symbolism is another way to intensify reader's emotions. It helps to make the reader empathize his feelings and affection. Shakespeare uses symbolism many times throughout the Sonnet 29, “When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries” (Shakespeare, 1609, 1-3). He uses symbolism here because he wants to explain that the speaker feels like an outcast compared to the rest of society.
Shakespeare uses literary devices to approach the reader to the poem. The language of Shakespeare’s sonnets resembles the living style of speech. There are many figurative comparisons taken from everyday life. Literary devices that he used help the reader to sense his thoughts and feelings. Shakespeare created his sonnets as lyric poetry. But now they have even more important meaning: Shakespeare’s intimate feelings reflect the time in which the poet lived.
- Shakespeare, W. (1609). Sonnet 018: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Retrieved September 6, 2013 from http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/384/
- Shakespeare, W. (1609). Sonnet 029: When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes. Retrieved September 6, 2013 from http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/395/
- Shakespeare, W. (1609). Sonnet 130: My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun. Retrieved September 6, 2013 from http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/496/