Category Archives: Sonnets

Shakespeare Quarterly – Sonnets

(Arguments badge – article thesis)

Turning Sonnets into Poems: Textual Affect and John Benson’s Metaphysical Shakespeare.

In Turning Sonnets, Megan Heffernan questions the arrangements and classification of sonnets through the analysis of textual features including genres, thematics and form. It proves to be a deeply interesting read, highlighting the history of cataloguing sources and modes, to effectively name (or in Shakespeare’s case) number sonnets.

Sonnet 130 Close Reading

This is my last-ditch attempt at completing my writing badge. Like many others who are flooding this blog with posts after months of procrastination, I am currently in a state of panic. Release the panic…oh…release the panic.

I decided to do a close reading of one of my favorite sonnets. I first came across this sonnet back in grade eight…oh the memories.


After an initial read-through of this sonnet, I quickly realised that this sonnet serves as a criticism (or rather, a parody) on the idolization and comparison of women to natural beauties found in Petrarch’s sonnets. The speaker is comparing his mistress to natural beauties, but instead of complimenting her, it seems as though he is insulting her. It is not until the couplet when the speaker reveals to the audience that he is not insulting her, but rather, suggesting that his love is rare.

The use of sensory imagery is heavy in this sonnet, describing the physical attributes of the mistress. Starting off with sight, we come across the mistress’ eyes, which “are nothing like the sun”. The redness of her lips are compared to coral in the next line: “Coral is far more red than her lips’ red”. Her hair is compared to wires (touch/texture), and her breath reeks (smell). He then compares her voice to music, where “music hath a far more pleasing sound”. The progression of the descriptions from head to toe with metaphors and similes suggest that the speaker is caressing his mistress (even in jest) with words.

This sonnet can be read in a sarcastic tone, possibly as a response to another man’s description of his mistress (this sonnet is, after all, a parody). It is almost as if the speaker is pointing out the obvious as a way to criticize the sheer absurdity of the comparisons. For instance, he could be saying that his mistress’ eyes are not like the sun, and it would be very strange if it were so, as one could not possibly have eyes like the sun. And no, her lips cannot be as red as coral –it’s another impossible and ridiculous comparison.

April 9, Tutorial Follow-up

(Facetime Badge) April 9, 2015

Today’s tutorial left me with lots of new considerations regarding Shakespeare’s interpretation of beauty and sin, particularly through his ability to create the exterior attractiveness and intoxication of sin.  The imagery of virtue removed and falseness revealed reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s, Imp of the Perverse- the urge to sin just for the sole purpose of doing so.  Placing one’s carnal desires and actions on another is a very common element in Shakespeare’s sonnets (often towards women) but ultimately because the sonnet is a more personal slice of writing, the ownership of lust ultimately reflects back onto the speaker. It unites and blends the lines of gender as we are all ultimately vulnerable to jealously, deceit, longing and loneliness.  Many consider beauty and sin to be opposing forces, however each contains identical emotions and reactions, as Shakespeare brilliantly demonstrates, they truly are one of the same.

Soldier’s Homecoming -Sonnet

I wrote this sonnet for my best friend as we were visiting our boyfriends on an army base in (basically) the middle of nowhere. We were stranded for an extra day as weather made it dangerous to drive; she was sad and didn’t want to leave. I, on the other hand, was about to go insane because I had no WiFi or cell reception. So naturally, I ended up doing Shakespeare homework.

This sonnet is inspired by the theme of war explored in Troilus and Cressida. I tried to put myself in the position of the wives and mothers who had to send their husbands and sons to battle. All they could do was wait for the day when the men would come home. Although I haven’t experienced this first hand, I cannot imagine the pain and worry that goes through the minds of those with loved ones currently in battle overseas.

I also apologize for my sorry attempt at writing in iambic pentameter. I tried. 🙂


My love, duty-bound to serve your country;

Rugged and fearless, yet gentle and sweet.

My brave knight in green, marching forward humbly;

It is danger and war you willingly greet.

Not wound nor death may break your composure.

An honorable man you are, a hero of peace;

You are my hero, my knight, my soldier.

Yet I want nothing more than the war to cease.

I patiently wait for the day you come home

As I spend night after night in bed all alone.

I dream of the barren and bloody fields you roam;

When news of battle arrives, I fear the unknown.

I long to have you in my arms again;

This love for my soldier, words cannot explain.

Sonnets Through Review #1

My review begins with Twelfth Night

A play that demonstrates constant deception

which is eventually brought to light

When Cesario because Viola in all her complexion.

It is my favourite amongst Shakespeare’s comedies

Because the women conspire and are wiser than the men

They hold all of the power and know how to tease.

For proof of their wit just see Maria with a pen.

Even though the roles would have been performed by gents,

Ladies are given an empowerment that goes beyond their beauty,

They do not need men to survive, they could probably even pitch their own tents,

They can manipulate and achieve their goals without resorting to shaking their booty.

This play is called Twelfth Night,

And it demonstrates that women are bright.

Sonnet: High Aspirations

Of sleepless nights, of hectic days,

Of times spent staring at a parchment,

O, it’s tiring, this craze;

For my melancholy state, this is the argument.

The sun goes down, the moon comes out,

Yet I remain in the same spot.

The stress I face is what I write about,

My nerves wracked, and I distraught.

But I will pursue on my journey to success;

I will thwart any obstacles in my path;

I will foster determination and progress,

And perhaps, when I’m done, I will soak in a bath.

               For I am from hard work and dedication,

               And I will fly high to reach my aspiration.

My Attempt at Writing a Sonnet (1)

Shall I compare thy mark to my owneth

In hopes of increasing my self esteem

Makes me feel like the Queen Elizabeth

Praiseworthy enough for my own proud meme


Until it becomes lower than thy own

Then my high spirits are thrown off wind

Never-ending, my brain then my heart groan

From my path I am confused and blind


The numbers in this verse depict feelings

While numbers on the report show my worth

My body is melancholy filling

Strong urge to throw myself into the hearth


Until thoughts of courage and you arise

I discern numbers aren’t what make me wise

Sonnet #2: A Daughter’s Loss

Thieved prior to his hour, by false friends
These gods lacked mercy, as they heard my cries
I hold his still young hand before his ends
He who begot me, strong, pious and wise

From whose secure arms will I be given?
When the wedding bells come for me
To steal my blessings tis not forgiven
As every glance will yearn for thee

The universe had no solicitude
To spare me this much anguish and despair
The enemies hidden in solitude
Yet I bequeath my father in their care

With my patriarch burns my piety
As the perished man is my deity

Sonnet #1: Lustful Eyes

I knew at my first unfortunate glace
He was blazing within his own desires
Fierce and scorching, giving pity no chance
And I too frail to extinguish such a fire

Black shadows of dishonour and disgrace
Did overcast the pure light in my name
The darkness painted colours on my face
Staining me black with his immoral aim

Foul intentions often dim the eyes
And inevitable darkness follows,
Where all things true and pure begin demise
Hence the strength of such profanity grows

I stand untouched, yet adulterated
As the lecherous eyes leave me tainted