What should be mentioned in an essay about Shakespeare and one of his sonnets?JWilliam Shakespeare

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For one thing, if your essay is to be a critical essay, then you will want to consider how the sonnet that you select relates to the other sonnets of Shakespeare.  For instance, there is a progression of the stages of love that threads these sonnets of William Shakespeare; the earlier ones display a more selfish and erotic love than the latter, more spiritual ones.  Certainly, in your analysis of the sonnet of your choice, you will analyze the structure of the sonnet.  Traditionally the Shakespearean sonnet has 2 quatrains that express separate ideas, with the concluding rhyming couplet, so you will need to decide what the themes of these quatrains are.  In addition, depending upon your analysis, you may wish to point to literary devices which the poet has used to accomplish the themes of these quatrains.  For example, you may consider whether the idea of the first quatrain expressed more quickly by means of alliteration.

See the sites below to view selected summaries and analyses of Shakespearean sonnets.

When deciding to write an essay over Shakespeare, you must consider the reason he wrote sonnets.  He started writing sonnets because the theaters in London were closed for a period of a couple of years because of an outbreak of the plague.  He wrote 154 sonnets during those two years.  There are several types of sonnets: Petrarchiah, Elizabethan, and the English form that Shakespeare developed his form.  There is a Shakespearean Sonnet form.  He numbered all of his sonnets, and most of them are addressed to a man urging him to marry and have children who are to carry on his talents.  His sonnets bring to life the fundamental experiences of life-time, death, love, and friendships.

Read the study guide:
Shakespeare: A Life in Drama

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