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Shakespeare's Sonnets

by William Shakespeare
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What was the purpose of Sonnet 1?

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Shakespeare used the English sonnet form to develop a metaphor in three quatrains (groupings of four lines) and then an outcome in the final couplet (two lines).  

The speaker in sonnet 1 addresses a person of remarkable beauty, observing in the first stanza that we want beautiful people to have children so that their beauty can have a sort of immortality by being passed down.

Beginning in the second quatrain, the speaker directly addresses the person (thou) and urges him or her not to let his/her beauty die out by keeping it all to himself/herself.

In the final couplet, the speaker observes what a tragedy it would be if the person opted not to reproduce, implying that it would be an act of greed that would ultimately feed only "the grave." 

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