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What is the theme of sonnet 9?

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c-rose1 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:41 AM via web

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What is the theme of sonnet 9?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2009 at 5:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The theme of Shakespeare's sonnet 9 is impatient love. The first two lines ask a question: " Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye,
That thou consum'st thy self in single life?"

The narrator is asking the object of his love if she's afraid of being a widow, and that's why she hasn't had married/had children yet. The rest of the sonnet puts pressure on her to do so, with the strong implication being that she should do so (should have kids with, and therefore make love with) the speaker. The poem ends by proclaiming such a decision to be a selfish, shameful act.

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calypso3240 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2015 at 3:25 PM (Reply #1)

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The theme of Shakespeare's sonnet 9 is in fact impatient love, but it is addressed to a young man, not a woman.

The narrator is talking to the "fair lord" whom Shakespeare's first 120 sonnets are addressed to. Shakespeare is telling the fair lord that he should marry and have children. Shakespeare then tells him that if he doesn't have children, the world will cry for him, and become his widow because there are no "copies" or children to be left behind and carry on his great beauty. 

After the volta in line 9, the mood changes and Shakespeare compares beauty to money. He goes on to say that money circulates and once it is used it just passes from one person to the next. Where as beauty, once wasted, is gone forever. 

The poem is a cautionary one, about the dangers of a man not marrying or reproducing. 

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