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I need help with Shakespeare's Sonnet 20.I don't get lines 2, 12 and 7. Could someone...

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ekfsksk | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 13, 2011 at 11:24 PM via web

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I need help with Shakespeare's Sonnet 20.

I don't get lines 2, 12 and 7. Could someone explain these lines to me a little better? Thank you. Also could someone tell me the basic summary for this sonnet. (not copy and paste from wikipedia and stuff). Thank you!


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ms-einstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted November 14, 2011 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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This sonnet has trigged debate over Shakespeare’s sexual orientation. This poem professes love for a man. However, it would be wrong to presume it is romantic or sexual adoration. The person described in the sonnet is compared to a woman. Line 2 states the person is not fickle, like other women of the times. Line 7 says the person clearly is a man in every shape and manner and controls all men. Nature intended you to be a woman, but was so smitten by your qualities that Nature added manhood (a penis.) Thus, Line 12 notes the two will never be sexually united because this man was created for women’s pleasure. In Line 14, the narrator states women can have the treasure of the man’s body, but the narrator shall have his love. As a student of Shakespeare, you know the Bard wrote on many levels of interpretation. In today's term, the sonnet might be simplified as saying, "You are a stud in the ladies' shifting eyes, but you and I will always be best friends."

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