SequenceWhat is meant by 'sequence' in respect of the Sonnets?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I've always been a little skeptical of the whole sequence idea.  I am not sure it has too much value now except for naming purposes so we can keep the story straight. When you read them in order, you can make a story out of them but it’s a stretch.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Of course, it is highly debated as to whether the sonnets do in fact tell a "story" of love or whether they are just isolated pearls which some critics are over-eager in trying to string together to form a necklace. I personally don't think we know enough to say either way, but the sonnets do stand alone by themselves without us having to necessarily read them as a whole and try and piece out a probable order. I don't know if other editors would agree with me?

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The sonnets are arranged in a logical order, according to some critics, an order that relates a series of events.  The sonnets are supposedly, according to these critics, arranged to follow a love story between a young man and a "dark lady."  The sonnets detail this love affair in the order it supposedly happened.  

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Many critics believe that the sonnets were written in a certain order...a sequence...which was later lost in the shuffle.  Some folks have spent much time and energy trying to figure out when and in what order the poems were written in order to shed a little more light on Shakespeare's life and what his personal thoughts/opinions on particular subjects were without having to glean this from characters in his plays.  It is generally believed that the speaker in the sonnets is the poet himself and not some contrived character.  One person of particular interest in the sonnets is The Dark Lady--who she was, what importance in his life she had, and whatnot.  The numbers given to the sonnets are not necessarily the order in which they were written, but more or less to keep up with how many poems/sonnets were attributed to the author. 

dreamworld154's profile pic

dreamworld154 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Many critics believe that the sonnets were written in a certain order...a sequence...which was later lost in the shuffle.  Some folks have spent much time and energy trying to figure out when and in what order the poems were written in order to shed a little more light on Shakespeare's life and what his personal thoughts/opinions on particular subjects were without having to glean this from characters in his plays.  It is generally believed that the speaker in the sonnets is the poet himself and not some contrived character.  One person of particular interest in the sonnets is The Dark Lady--who she was, what importance in his life she had, and whatnot.  The numbers given to the sonnets are not necessarily the order in which they were written, but more or less to keep up with how many poems/sonnets were attributed to the author. 

Thank you, Amy-lepore.

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