What are the principal themes of the sonnets?

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enotes | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare's sonnets are concerned with love, beauty, poetry, and, perhaps most pervasively, the force that the passage of time exerts upon all three. In Sonnet 116, the narrator tells the "young man" addressed in this piece that "Love's not Time's fool" (line 9). Although covering a broad range of topics and narrative situations, it is the human capacity to adapt to the force of time, to the seasons of human life, that constitutes the thematic core of the sonnets.

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