What were Shakespeare's personal feelings about love

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jeffclark | College Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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If you are studying Shakespeare in much detail you will find, if you haven't already, that when you attempt to ascertain anything "personal" about him, such as your question about his "personal feelings about love", there are various ideas as to his identity. Some, if not most, think of Shakespeare as a very talented and prolific individual. Others however, because of the amount and variety of work that bears the name "Shakespeare" believe that there was no one person by that name but that various authors wrote using the same name. Thus making the determination of "his personal feelings" about anything impossible to ascertain. But that is another consideration.

In Sonnet 116 as in many other works, Shakespeare proves himself to be a man before his time. In his day the concept of "love" was much different from what it is now. Marriages were arranged, children were basically seen as free labor, and love was an accidental by product that a few were lucky enough to experience. Yet in the work at hand Shakespeare sees love as something transcendent. Not something that might happen as a result of relationships and circumstances, but the motivation for the relationships in the first place. Love is seen as an ideal, a virtue, a soul-task that is the result of mental and spiritual effort.

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