Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Sonnets book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How are Shakespeare's sonnets a record of his personal experiences? 

Shakespeare's sonnets record the matters which were most important to the poet: his intense love affairs and his hopes of achieving immortality through his work. Beyond these general themes, there have been various attempts to reconstruct a more precise story, with figures including a fair youth, a dark lady, and a rival poet, but scholars have differed widely on the story the sonnets tell.

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University

calendarEducator since 2019

write2,273 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In his short story, "The Portrait of Mr. W.H.," Oscar Wilde explores a theory, which he may or may not actually have believed, about the mysterious figure to whom Shakespeare's sonnets are dedicated. In popular Shakespearean scholarship, only the pastime of finding alternative authors for the plays, from the Earl of Oxford to Christopher Marlowe, has occasioned more theories than the search for a story behind Shakespeare's sonnets.

The following statements are relatively uncontroversial. The majority of Shakespeare's sonnets (1-126) are addressed to a young man, apparently of noble...

(The entire section contains 287 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial