Thoughts on Shakespeare's Sonnets


I recently finished reading Shakespeare's Sonnets. And I can relate to that quote, somewhat. I can't figure out why sonnet 126 has only 12 lines. And this troubles me. My heart says not to worry about it – the bard knew what he was up to. But mine eye cannot tolerate this abbreviated poem. It doesn't match the other poems.

Okay, so it's not that troubling. I'm fine, really.

This is reflective of how I regard Shakespeare's sonnets, actually. I don't quite understand them. Oh sure, they made sense individually. I could take them line by line, and each sonnet was easy to comprehend. They were excellent poems and I enjoyed reading them.

However . . .

Then I read in the introduction that there was a narrative throughout the sonnets. Of a friendship, that friendship coming to an end, and then the appearance of a romantic interest that the narrator finds revolting, yet fascinating, somehow. Confusing, right? I thought so.

I kept going and I tried to detect this narrative. I was able to find it like one finds a black cat in the dark. That is, with much doubt, difficulty and sometimes not at all. My family has a black cat; she is difficult to locate when she doesn't want to be found, so I feel this is a good comparison. But I don't think Shakespeare wanted the reader to have a hard time following the narrative. I think poetry just requires digging through the layers and some extra thought to get the full meaning.

But enough of cats and narratives.

Why does sonnet 126 have only 12 lines?

No, I haven't gone crazy, I just didn't feel like writing a serious book review this time. 

Comments

  1. I read his complete sonnets, too... They're not really great taken all at once, are they? : ( My favorite is easily sonnet 97, but I of course love the famous Shall I compare thee to a summer's day sonnet? My favorite part of any sonnet, though, is (and this is from memory, so it will probably go awry):

    When you read these words, remember not
    The one that wrote them, for I love you so
    That I in your fond thoughts would be forgot
    If thinking on me ever caused you woe.

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    Replies
    1. I wrote a truly dreadful sonnet for poetry class once... ; ) I shall not quote it here out of mercy.

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  2. Yes, they were better one by one, but maybe I will have a better experience if I ever reread them. That's a great quote, and I love how the sonnets have so many quote-worthy lines!

    I, too, wrote an awful sonnet once, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was about. Probably for the best!

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